Sonia Gandhi finally said what was on her mind. She didn’t utter the actual words, Defence Minister AK Antony read out her speech at a gathering in Chattisgrah on 9th November, where she was supposed to attend the foundation laying ceremony of the ambitious Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail project. Taking a dig at Team Anna, she was eager to point out that it was National Advisory Council, which started the draft processing of the Lokpal Bill. Incidentally, Sonia Gandhi herself heads the NAC. Asserting the role of the current UPA government in bringing about the Right To Information (RTI) act, she kickstarted the Congress’ election campaigns for upcoming assembly polls in 2012 in the state.
Mrs. Gandhi’s equivocal demeanour leaves much to speculation. Though she puts down Team Anna’s efforts by saying, “Corruption cannot be fought by speeches, so I don’t understand why this noise,” there have hardly been any positive steps from her side to see the Lokpal Bill passed through in the parliament. Absent from the country when the Jan Lokpal movement was on a high, she missed out the chance to strengthen and enhance Congress’ weak stand. Instead, lower rung UPA members bumbled their way through the quagmire, inadvertently heating up the pace of the movement. Subsequent attempts to tarnish the image of the members of Team Anna, which succeeded to some extent, have also proved a double edged sword: these actions plainly said that UPA government, tottering on the brink of a disaster when scams after scams were unearthed, was pretty desperate.
The last parliament session ended on a note of optimism, at least for the countless citizens on the streets during the course of the Jan Lokpal Bill movement: that the Lokpal bill will be considered in the winter session of the Parliament, which begins on 22 November.
India turns to its television sets and the radio as the date of the winter session fast approaches, and the bloodiest battles will be fought not on the war grounds, but in the political arena.