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Inside Congress party's Lokpal gameplan

Last updated on: December 27, 2011 11:51 IST

Inside Congress party's Lokpal gameplan

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

As Parliament takes up the debate on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, on Tuesday, the Congress party will try to ensure three things.

Firstly, they would want to ensure that the combined onslaught of the opposition parties does not succeed, through media, to blame the Congress or the government if the Bill fails to muster the majority required to pass it. 

Secondly, whatever be the bill's fate, the Congress party's total focus is on the Uttar Pradesh elections and it wants to keep its image intact amongst minorities, particularly Muslims.
 

Thirdly, Congress strategists know that they are fighting a losing battle so far as Team Anna charge about the bill tabled in Lok Sabha is concerned.

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Inside Congress party's Lokpal gameplan

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A perception has percolated that the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill is weak and a large number of people in urban middle class are vehemently against it even if there are many who have not read the Bill.

The credibility of the government and to some extent of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is low as far as the issue of giving more power to the Lokpal is concerned.

People who are supporting the Team Anna in spite of many of their weaknesses are those in whose eyes parliamentarians are losing credibility. But, the battle to regain credibility is a long-drawn affair and can be fought after the election as well. 

Congress leader Digvijay Singh's attack against Team Anna is a calculated move, keeping an eye on the UP election.

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Inside Congress party's Lokpal gameplan

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Waris Mazhari, editor of the Urdu magazine Tarjuman-e-Dar-ul-Uloom, told rediff.com, "Digvijay Singh's severe criticism of Hazare is helping the Congress in keeping a section of Muslims with them. This section, which is unable to catch the superficiality of Singh's statements, thinks that 'whatever you say only the Congress will give some power to Muslim'."

He said that 50 per cent quota in the Lokpal panel is neither big news nor much debated yet amongst his readers.

Mazhari says, "The Lokpal bill is not a hot issue amongst Muslims, but surely a section that has been showing interest has few questions for Anna. They ask us, "How can Hazare sustain such a long battle, so well?" Our community has doubts. They say there must be somebody behind Hazare. He alone can't sustain such a big movement."

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Inside Congress party's Lokpal gameplan

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Mazhari adds, "When Digvijay attacks Hazare, it catches the ears of Muslims because they believe that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is hiding behind the social activist. However, as I said before, most Muslims are not much concerned about the Lokpal bill. They have their own routine problems to face."

The government's move to give 4.5 per cent quota to Muslims out of the Other Backward Classes quota is a bigger topic for Muslims, Mazhari says.

"I saw more reactions coming from the community on the 4.5 per cent quota than on Hazare. It has touched the chord of Muslims. People think the Congress is the only party that would give substantial power to the Muslims. The Lokpal bill, in a larger context, is a non-issue."

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