Gang of Four: Congress should stop speaking with forked tongue

A day after Anna Hazare accused a "gang of four" in the government of being behind the campaign against his team, Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday (25 October) said that the government and civil society need to work together and not communicate through the media.

Denying the rift Khurshid said, "Communication between the government and Team Anna should not happen through the media,” The Times of India reported.

Never has a truer word been spoken on the issue. In an ideal world, key members of the Congress (and the UPA) should be ensconced with key members of Team Anna, negotiating a Jan Lokpal Bill that is acceptable to both, ensuring that the passage of the Bill in parliament is smooth and non-contentious.

But, as we know, this is not an ideal world.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid. AFP

Communication through the media happens because protagonists on both sides of the divide talk to the media, carelessly making statements that make for great headlines. Without these comments, the media could have written opinions, provided views, speculated on scenarios, and so on – that’s all.

How could – and why should – media ignore comments like these?

Digvijay Singh, as quoted in Economic Times:

“I am very happy that BJP has categorically supported Kejriwal. It has vindicated once again what I have been saying that the whole campaign of Anna Hazare and Ramdev has been conceived, planned and executed by RSS and the BJP," Singh told reporters here. "I have been saying since the very begninning that there is an alliance and the entire game is being played as part of the alliance. Whatever I had been saying has been proved correct," he said.

Digvijay Singh, on twitter:

Anna has blogged against Gang of Four? Who are the lucky ones? I am curious!

Anna Hazare on his blog

“But the government doesn’t seem forthcoming in taking such a step. To accuse and humiliate seems to be the mantra of the few. This is not the first time that such accusations have been leveled against Kiran Bedi. Every member of ‘Team Anna’ had to face accusations and character assassination by the ‘gang of four’. Who are these people? Those are the very same people who are not in favor of Janlokpal Bill.”

Kiran Bedi to The Hindu on the ticket overinvoicing fiasco

Arvind Kejriwal (R) and Kiran Bedi (L). AFP

Ms Bedi sent a series of SMSes to The Hindu. “Very stupid sir,” her first message said. “Can't understand this nonsense. Did they invite me or did I get invited? And if they offered me this and I saved for a cause, so what is their problem! Was the invite conditional? After much persuasion, I go and they say a 1000 thanks. Remarkable.”

In subsequent SMSes, Ms. Bedi said: “How is this relevant? It was an offer by them and I did a favour by going to them free, not charging even a speaker fee. Ask them, did I ask for invite or they invited me? And whose behest are they talking of?...Whose interest is this nonsense going on?...Team Anna is becoming stronger by this I can tell you. Come what may, we have to get the Jan Lok Pal Bill...Since when did saving become a crime?"

Sanjay Nirupam on Kiran Bedi, reported in Moneycontrol

"Kiran Bedi has accepted she has done wrong. She has cheated some institutions. If she is returning the money, it doesn't mean she has not done crime. These kinds of stands should not be taken by Annaji. The whole country supports him and he shouldn't get into this issue.”

These are only representative of the grist for the media mill – and it is gems like these which force the media to become the medium for the Government-Team Anna communication.

While Salman Khurshid cannot stop members of Team Anna from talking to media on the issue, he should certainly be able to stop his own party colleagues from shooting their mouths off – if he truly believes in the statement that he has made.

If he cannot, all that will happen is that the media will pounce on the comment that he has made, and look at it as just another instance of the Congress speaking with a forked tongue – as we are doing now.

Updated Date: Oct 25, 2011 13:26 PM

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