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Why did the recent meeting of the Joint Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee end on such an acrimonious note? The investigative arm of The UnReal Times presents a transcript of the meeting that encapsulates what transpired among the committee members that day.
The time reads 10:10 – ten minutes past the scheduled start time. Seen seated on one side of the long conference table in the meeting room are Anna Hazare and his four civil society colleagues. The seats opposite each one of them are, however, empty. Arvind Kejriwal is restlessly looking at his watch every fifteen seconds, while an unperturbed Anna Hazare sits back with his head slightly tilted, smiling at no one in particular.
Suddenly, Chidambaram walks in with a serious expression, dressed in a crisp white shirt and a traditional South Indian dhoti. Veerappa Moily follows a few feet behind him – headphones on his years, an ipod in hand – in a movement that seems like a series of alternating lunges and pelvic thrusts, rasping “Apdi podu podu podu”. He lunges a little too close to Chidambaram and steps on the toe end of his dhoti, which to Chidambaram’s horror, begins to slip alarmingly. Chidambaram immediately arrests his forward movement and desperately clutches at his dhoti”
“Hey watch it!”
As Chidambaram stands there glaring at Moily, Pranabda and Salman Khursheed walk in. The four take their seats leaving the seat at one end for the last member. A minute later, Kapil Sibal walks in briskly, a register in one hand and a mug of cappuchino in the other.
“Good morning” Kapil says grandly.
He then proceeds to open his register and starts taking attendance. The civil society representatives seem slightly bewildered, but nevertheless respond with a loud “Present Sir” as Kapil calls out each of their names.
“Okay, good” a satisfied Sibal says, closing the register. “Let’s start the session now. Remember, no talking between yourself, or I’ll make you stand on the bench”
Arvind Kejriwal, who was staring at Sibal with his mouth open, collects himself, clears his throat and says. “Okay, the first point on the agenda is about the PM being under the ambit of Lokpal. For an effective Lokpal, it is our team’s belief that the importance of this cannot be overestimated”
“No no Arvind baba” Pranab intervenes. “Eet ees not poshibal to put the PM under da armpit of Lokpal. The PM can only be under the armpit of Soni.. I mean.. the Conshtipation of India”
Chidambaram clears his throat. “He means the Constitution of India”
“But…” As an agitated Kejriwal begins to argue, Moily suddenly interrupts with a rather loud and grating “Deal to bachcha high jee, toda kachcha high jee”. Chidambaram quickly pulls the headphones off Moily’s ears and glares at him.
The Bhushans and former judge Santosh Hegde are by now a little miffed and shift in their seats uncomfortably. Arvind Kejriwal is bristling with anger. Anna Hazare, however, is a picture of peace and tranquility. Still smiling, he leans forward and says “The government doesn’t seem serious about this bill. I think we have to start another satyagraha”
“No no Annaji” says Pranabda hastily “Please be payshunt. Let ush shit and dishcush again”
There’s silence for a few seconds as the civil society participants look at each other quizzically. Chidambaram sighs deeply, and begins massaging his forehead.
“But Pranabda…” begins Anna sweetly. “We have already done that in the morning na…”
“This is ridiculous” interrupts Kejriwal who clearly appears at his wits’ end. “What has shitting got to do with this?”
“Yeah, you are unnecessarily diverting from the real issue” says Prashant Bhushan. “In any case this is irrelevant as once we start our fast, we won’t have to shit for days”
“Guys, please…” interrupts Chidambaram. “Remember, we are democratically elected representatives. You can’t talk to us like this”
“But Amma said…” started Moily, only to be instantly shushed by Chidambaram.
At this point, Pranabda gets a phone call. He looks at the number and jumps up from his seat into a bolt upright position. He buries his mobile phone into his ear and nods vigorously – muttering what sounds like ‘yesh maam, yesh maam’. 15 seconds later when he finishes the call, he nods imperceptibly to the other four, upon which all of them promptly get up and storm out of the room, leaving the dumbfounded civil society representatives staring at the departing leaders in disbelief.