The way Anna Hazare launched agitation in Delhi to pile up pressure on the government for removing corruption and forming strong Lokpal Bill, Baba Ramdev now in the same vein generated much thrill for the Centre by starting campaign to bridle black money. His agitation is a big trouble for the government. Anna didn’t have many public connections, however huge support poured in only because of his persona. But Baba Ramdev does have followers in Delhi itself as well as in other parts of the country, that’s why scores of people thronged in his support. Once he indicated to form a political party to bring in revolutionary change. His emphasis on bridling black money is as high as his mission to bring a change the present political system. Observing the gravity of Anna’s agitation, the government did not only form a committee to draft the Lokpal Bill but also made Anna and his four associates as its members. It is doubtful that the committee will succeed to draft the Bill in a stipulated time. When Anna is angry with government’s stand, Ramadev’s agitation will irk the government more. The restlessness of the government became obvious when Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Pawan Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay reached Delhi airport in order to converse with Baba Ramdev. These ministers tried to persuade Baba not to go on fast, but they didn’t get success and rather it drove home a message that the government was in jitters with mere announcement of yoga guru’s agitation. The Congress, however, disagreed with the government, but its ministers tried to pacify Ramdev to the hilt.

This is not the first protest for mounting a pressure on the government. There are so many political-nonpolitical outfits which stage protest and agitation against the Centre and state governments. Such events are rarely effective, because they have a limited purpose. Such events many-a-times are mere show off and in some cases people are paid to gather for the cause. Anna’s movement was different that touched the feelings of people. Much water had flown by the time the government woke up to the reality. That’s why the government tried its best to convince Baba not to observe fast. The government knows it well that the issue being raised by the yoga guru is getting more attention of public. The government is also well acquainted with the popularity of Baba and the formidable situation surfaced during Anna’s movement.

Black money and corruption are complementary to each- other. Unethical behavior, bribery, negligence, abuse of position, discrimination of conducts to this effect are included in the chapter of corruption. The black money is a fallout of the unscrupulous conduct. Despite huge income, not paying tax is a form of a black money, but black money is also earned through other illegal means. Ramdev is exerting pressure on the government that it should take earnest step against the black money and the colossal money of Indians stashed away in foreign banks must be declared and seized. The indication of the Central government in the context of tackling graft is positive, but people are not convinced of a serious move of the government on this issue. Indian politics and corruption are embracing each other. Most of the leaders are in collusion with corruption and they are seen conniving with it. Although they are not amassing black money directly, their politics runs by dint of it.

Our average leaders remain on their toes for the interest of people until they get power, but the moment they have any position with the support of people they change their conduct instantly. They become concerned with their kith and kin only and the process of corruption starts crippling in. Today there is hardly any leader who is not favouring his friends and relatives. Whenever leaders take decision they attach importance to their interests and the respective party but the issues related to society and the country take a backseat.

However every leader goes on saying that corruption should be weeded out for the development of the nation, but there has not been an earnest effort in this regard. Loads of negative elements have entered Indian politics, they gradually push up corruption. The serious issue is that politics does not run without black money. It is well known that how political outfits collect funds to fight elections. If political parties demand funds from the corporate world, they will have to take care their interests as well. The corporate world knows that quick bucks could be earned with the help of politicians. Either building infrastructure or other government plans, the corporate world takes its pie with the favour of leader. There are so many industrialists who are running their business with a patronage from the government. It is difficult to believe that a favour cannot be sought without obliging politicians. If such a rule is framed where a transparency between corporate world and the government relation be created, corruption and black money can be bridled to some extent. Today a good sum of Rs 5-10 crore is spent in fighting elections, but candidate can show only a permissible amount of expense. At present, Rs 25 lakh has been pegged for fighting the election. If noose is tightened around black money and corruption, political parties primarily need to change code of conduct. It is certain that they will not correct their conduct owing to pressure of the agitation. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev can grab public’s attention by launching stir, but they will hardly succeed to bring diametrical change in the political functioning. It will take enough time to bring reforms in political and electoral policies.

In view of the agitation of Baba Ramdev, the prestige of the government as well as the Congress is at stake. Initially Anna and later Baba piled up pressure on the government which of course finds worthpraising. Both of them had to take revolutionary steps as the government was showing laxity in the context of corruption and black money. It is expected that the agitation of Baba Ramdev will be helpful in removing government’s slackness.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on May 29, 2011 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)