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Is Anna Hazare Blackmailing the Government?

Since the time Anna Hazare was arrested yesterday morning, we have been hearing numerous politicians and some intellectuals crying at the top of their voice that Anna Hazare is blackmailing the government by resorting to indefinite fast if his demands are not met. They claim that Anna’s approach is “My way is the highway” approach, this is a parliamentary system, laws cannot be made at JP Park or Jantar Mantar, and so on. Let us look at the logical feasibility of such arguments

India Against Corruption Movement - http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/

Claim: Anna Hazare is Blackmailing the Government

Anna Hazare is not blackmailing the government to donate a few crore rupees to him or to give him tax exemption or to allot few acres of land to his industry. Anna Hazare is forcing the government to introduce a strong anti-corruption Lokpal bill in the parliament. Given the fact that corruption is rampant in this country today with four of the MPs from the ruling alliance in jail, given the fact that multiple multi-crore scams have taken place during this government’s rule – it is evident that none of the present laws and institutions have enough power to curb corruption in the country. So if asking to establish a strong anti-corruption institution to prosecute the corrupt is paramount to blackmailing the government, then SO BE IT.

Claim: One man cannot hold the entire government and parliament at ransom

Those who make the above claim should come out of their homes and go on to the streets or atleast should switch on the TV. It is not ONE Anna Hazare. Millions of citizens of this country are out on the streets in support of the movement against corruption. One man is just LEADING the movement. The movement itself is supported by almost the entire nation. Claiming that one Anna Hazare is holding the government at ransom is akin to claiming Mahatma Gandhiji was ALONE fighting against the British and rest of the country was indifferent towards the freedom movement.

After all this is a democracy, and in a democracy it is the people’s will that rules ultimately.

Claim: Laws are made in the Parliament, not at JP Park or Jantar Mantar

This claim is aired by those who either do not understand what Anna Hazare is demanding, or who want to mislead that section of the public who want to be technically correct in their views. Anna Hazare has ONLY demanded that the Jan Lokpal Bill draft (the Lokpal version by the Indian Against Corruption movement) be tabled in front of the parliament.

The government has currently tabled its own version of the Lokpal bill which actually promotes corruption and does not give enough power to Lokpal to prosecute and punish the corrupt. The governments version actually punishes the complainant for upto two years in jail if the law enforcement agencies are unable to find any proof of corruption related to the complaint. This in itself is going to deter people from complaining to Lokpal for fear of being sent to jail just for raising an alarm. Do we really need another dummy institution at the tax payer’s expense?

So where is Anna Hazare saying that the law should be made in JP Park or Jantar Mantar. He has chosen those places as his venue to protest because he cannot sit on fast inside the parliament. However his demand is just to table the right Lokpal bill inside the parliament so that the bill can be debated, discussed and voted upon. Why is the government so scared to just table the Jan Lokpal Bill inside the parliament? Because it fears that the entire opposition will get united to pass this bill, which will then empower the so formed Lokpal to take action against all the corrupt ministers in the government.

More importantly, the laws which are passed in the parliament are normally suggested by a government appointed National Advisory Council (NAC) which comprises of eminent citizens of the civil society. So to say that Laws are made by Parliament and NOT by members of civil society is an attempt to completely MISLEAD those who are not informed about the process.

Claim: Everybody has a right to protest, but Anna Hazare’s way of protest is not the right way.

Anna Hazare is doing a peaceful protest. He has repeatedly called for people not to resort to any kind of violence. Inspite of being so massive the protest has been very peaceful all over the country so far. He has not called for any Rasta Roko, Rail Roko, kind of protests. If this is not the right way to protest in a democracy, then WHAT IS the right way?

Claim: Anna Hazare’s attitude is “My way is the Highway” attitude

Guess we forgot to count the number of people standing on this highway in the country today?

A People's Movement Against Corruption - http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/

Claim: Anna Hazare was arrested because he violated the 144 section.

Really? Anna Hazare was arrested at his residence even before he could reach the JP Park were 144 section was in place. Since when did staying back at home become a violation of 144 section? The police should have arrested him only after he reached the JP Park which would have then amounted to violation of the prohibitory orders in place.

Claim: Anna Hazare’s Arrest was an independent decision by the police. Government did not have any say in it.

Wow, now this is the biggest joke of the day. Since when did police in India start getting so much of independence to act on their own, especially in such matters which are of extreme political importance involving the central government of India? If the police really had this much of independence in the country, then most of the politicians would have been behind the bars since they would have been able to independently probe and collect evidence and produce it to the courts. The massive political interference in police actions is also one of the reasons why an independent Lokpal institution is being demanded.

Claim: Mass movements like this will create an anarchy and convert India into a Banana Republic

So you do not call the rampant corruption in the society an anarchy? Crores of rupees, public wealth being swindled – is this the rule of law? Here is a detailed answer for this question – Will Anna Hazare’s movement convert India into a Banana Republic?

Claim: Lokpal is not going to solve the problem of corruption in India

Does anybody have any other answer to address corruption in this country? And simultaneously do they also have the will and mass following to undertake a movement of this scale and force the government to act accordingly to implement the solution they propose? If yes, you are welcome. If not, at least allow the person who has an answer and the people’s support to do his job.

It is a common sense that in any system independence of institutions is of paramount importance if it is to be effective. An independent Lokpal with power to prosecute and punish the corrupt is going to be extremely effective in curbing the menace of corruption. A real world example is how even with very limited powers, the Lokayukta led by Justice Santhosh Hegde was able to send ministers to jail in the state government of Karnataka and even made the Chief Minister Yediyurappa and other corrupt ministers resign from the government. And all this was done with the limited power of just RECOMMENDING prosecution of the chief minister and other ministers/politicians of the state, after submitting a report which had evidence of corruption against the accused. Now imagine how more effective it would have been if the same Lokayukta also had the power to prosecute and punish instead of simply submitting a report and hoping that somebody would act on the report. This is what the entire anti-corruption movement is all about. Creating a powerful institution which can tackle corruption effectively and independently.

Claim: Anna Hazare does not have the exclusive right to fight corruption nor is  his way is the only way to fight corruption.

True, every person has the right to fight corruption in his own way. But how many have been really fighting the corruption in their own way? How many have been able to convince millions of Indians about the effectiveness of their way to fight corruption? Why don’t that somebody who has their own way of fighting corruption come out on the street and organize a people’s movement to fight corruption? It is easy to sit between four walls and talk. Anna has been able to come out on the streets with his way of fighting corruption and people have been convinced by his way. This is indeed a democracy and in a democracy majority wins. Now it is no more only Anna Hazare’s way. Look at the number of people on the streets in all cities and towns across the nation. It is the way of millions and millions of people in this country.

Claim: Why doesn’t Anna contest elections?

Politicians contest elections. Anna is NOT a politician. But that doesn’t mean that people only support those whom they vote for. Mahatma Gandhiji never contested elections. Does that mean Gandhiji’s views are of no political significance in this country?

If one is so worried about numbers, then why not hold a country wide referendum about whether people believe in Anna Hazare or in the government? And for that matter, what is the percentage of vote received by each elected representative, or for that matter by the government in power? People supporting Anna Hazare are much more than that in number.

Claim: Tomorrow anybody can come out on the streets and say meet my demands or I will fast unto death

Wow, as if nobody has ever come out on the streets of this country so far and Anna Hazare is fasting for the first time against the government policies.

Remember how government ignored the ascetic Swami Nigamananda of the “Save Ganga” movement who was fasting indefinitely protesting against the illegal mining on the banks of river Ganga polluting the river? He even died doing his fast for 115 days and nobody cared a damn in this country. Did the government yield to the demands of this saint? No. Why? It is even alleged that the local land Mafia poisoned this swamiji fearing that his fast would invoke massive public anger against the mining.

Remember the Iron lady of Manipur who has been fasting for the past 11 years protesting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act which gives legal immunity to soldiers? Ever since she started the fast she has refused to eat or drink water and has been force-fed liquid food through nasal tube. Has the government yielded to her demands? No. Why? Forget the fast, most in the government today don’t even know of her existence.

So then what is making the difference in this case of Anna Hazare’s movement? People are not fools. It is the massive public response and public anger against the government which has got the ruling establishment worried. It is not as if government fears that tomorrow anybody can go on a fast and make demands. As if, government is going to yield to all those demands. It is the massive public response to such movements that the government is really worried about.

If some random person goes on a fast or protest for some random reason will the government listen to that person’s demands? This is not a person’s movement, it is a people’s movement today.

Claim: Prime Minister should be kept out of Lokpal because arresting Prime Minister will destabilize the government, be a national security issue, will be an international shame, etc.

For those who say that Prime Minister should be kept out of the ambit of Lokpal, Judiciary should be kept out of the ambit of Lokpal, public servants should be kept out of the ambit of Lokpal, etc. True, in India the law is applicable only to the mango man (aam aadmi), everybody else are above law in this country.

My question is very simple. Is arresting a prime minister indulging in corruption a threat to national security, or allowing a corrupt prime minister to continue to remain in power a threat to national security? Do we prefer to have a stable government rather than bringing down a corrupt prime minister?

If arresting a prime minister indulging in corruption is an international shame, does that mean we worry more about how we look to the international community instead of what we really are? Do we care more about our cosmetic external look hiding the rot within? Cannot a prime minister be asked to stepped down if found guilty, before he is arrested? Doesn’t it actually show the true democratic vibrance if a person in power indulging in mis-governance is taken to task by the law of the land? How does it become an international shame? It really becomes an international shame if we allow a corrupt prime minister to be still taking decisions on the behalf of the country. Isn’t it?

Read Part II – Views against Anti-corruption Movement for Strong Lokpal

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Gandhi never contested elections because there were no elections….and he never recognized British system. If British had given an option to prove his legitimacy, you think he would have shied away from it? When you have such an option now….why shy away from it and depend on few city based protest to make unsubstantiated claims of whole india is behind us?

    • It is like saying if you have a problem with a government hospital in this country, then you have to do MBBS, become a doctor and only then speak about the pathetic conditions in the hospital. If you feel that a flyover constructed in your city is of poor quality, then you have to do Engineering, become a civil engineer, and only then speak about the flyover.

      Yes, if one is intelligent and interested enough, he can do that too. But what would happen by that time. Over the course of those four or five years when one is studying MBBS or BE, the hospital would have killed many of its patients, the flyover would have collapsed and injured or killed those present there. Elections are still two years away, and this government will pass a dummy lokpal by then.

      If government or you are so confident that people of this country support government’s version of lokpal, then why not hold a country wide referendum? You mean to say there is no value for the voices of the millions out on the streets there leaving aside all their jobs? Are they all jobless people who are out on the streets there? 

      Is corruption a non-issue in this country? Is this a totally clean government? Every month Supreme Court has been taking this government to a task. The institution which you referred to, Prime Minister took one long year just to give permission to carry out investigations against Raja related to 2G scam, and was taken to task by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has lost faith in the government to such an extent that, in these investigations it has directed the CBI to report the honorable court instead of the government!

      By the way Anna or anybody in the country has a right to do anything as long as it is not unconstitutional. If anybody feels what Team Anna  is doing in unconstitutional then why not approach the courts? Government got so scared that just by listening that Team Anna was planning to approach the Supreme Court, they decided to release him the very evening on the day they arrested him :)

    • Nor did the British ever ask Gandhi to PROVE his legitimacy. They ACCEPTED his mass following.

      Do you mean to say anybody who has a problem with the system should stand for elections? Merely standing for elections is not enough. He should form a party, then make sure he gets a majority in the parliament, have a stand on all other issues unrelated to him, form a government, and then pass the law he wants? That is not democracy Sir.

      Constitution gives every citizen a right to peacefully protest. If it is illegal, then arrest him. If not, allow them to do their job. For decades we have been only cribbing about corruption doing NOTHING. It is this attitude of ours which has put India in the top list of the one of the MOST corrupt nations on this planet today. And here is an elderly person who has come out to fight for the youth and future of this country, and we ask him to stand for elections?

      How fair is it to say that if I want the government to enact a law that will DISMISS a public servant for demanding bribe from me to do my legitimate work – I need to build a political party, stand for elections, win a majority etc?

      City based protests? Guess you haven’t visited the rural areas, and are only watching what is shown in the TV channels. It is the media that is urban centric – not the people. See
      http://www.hindustantimes.com/Support-for-Anna-s-cause-spreads-to-rural-Madhya-Pradesh/Article1-734950.aspx
      http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2011/Aug/22/farmers-disabled-children-join-anna-s-crusade-43.asp
      http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?731691

      I can list on and on.

  2. There has been few protests but I am not sure if that amounts to majority of Indians….There are large number of people in the highways, but most of the Indians are in the ghat ways and small roads….Anyway, a good government’s job is not to follow popularism and do things based on few city based protests…. If that was the case, we don’t need these institutions. Let us replace everything with SMS poll…A good government should consider all aspects and take the best decision, explain to people and implement it. No doubt that this government has failed in introducing a strong lokpa l bill or to explain it to people. But that does not give Anna a right to decide how and what should be done by the government and Parliament. If government has failed, it will go soon….If Anna has the support from majority, he can bring a government/parliament that supports…that is the right way.

    • Ha ha, you are speaking as if only Anna has partial support of people in this country and the MPs had TOTAL support of the citizens who elected them. What is the percentage of votes each MP received when he won the elections? Do we go and ask those who did not vote and consider their voices in the elections? No. Then why say there are millions who are not supporting Anna. They are not opposing Anna either. How many rallies with thousands of people have been held in the country opposing Jan Lokpal? So why count the passive voice now when you do not count that passive voice in the elections? 

      In elections there were at least a large population who voted against the sitting MPs. The collective vote of members who lost the elections is way large than the votes received by winning MPs. So the MPs are there AGAINST the wishes of a majority. So if you accept that as democracy, why not this movement? You don’t even have a credible number of population here who are OPPOSING this movement. 

    • Do we ask this question about “majority” at the end of the elections when there is a low voter turnout? If not, why now? Elections atleast have equally strong opposing voices. Where are the opposing voices for this movement? How popular are they?

      Good government? 2G, CWG?

      Every citizen has a right to decide what his country should become like. Government is not a royal family. They are mere “representatives” not “rulers”. IAC has held referendum in the constituencies of all these ministers who were part of the joint committee, and in all those constituencies people have voted for Janlokpal. So it is not just that Anna decided about this.

      Make use of technology, a large percentage of voters today have mobile phones – what is wrong if SMS polls are introduced? Infact they are proposed to be a legitimate way of making voting quick and easier in the coming days by linking each voter to his or her voter ID.

      You cannot kill the message by trying to destroy the messenger. The message gets more powerful everyday. Anna has lot more supporters than the number of votes received by the MP who won with the maximum number of votes.

      Elections are NOT the only way in a democracy. Because of this belief India has become once in a five year democracy with five years of autocracy. If I elect an MP, and he had promised me something, but he does something else after going to the parliament, do I need to wait for the next five years to teach him a lesson? That is not true democracy.

      Look at how democracy runs in US –
      City in US dumps its mayor for not showing up for work http://ibnlive.in.com/news/city-dumps-mayor-for-not-showing-up-for-work/177401-19.html

      On the other hand we have so many MPs who do not attend the parliament sessions, are seen sleeping and snoring when the session is on in the parliament. The problem is with the institutions, it is with those who gain an entry into it. And it against them which the fight is all about, not against the institutions. Institution allows the government to make a strong lokpal, that is not the problem. Government is not making a strong lokpal, that IS the problem.

  3. Comparing him with Gandhi??Gandhi was never as arrogant even to British…..Gandhi never recognized the governance system then. If Anna does not recognize parliament,  he should declare it. Then why he is trying to pass a bill under the same system that he does not recognize? There has been many protest in the past too…But no one has done like drafting a bill and threaten government to pass it. Most of the political parties, has expressed reservation against Anna’s bill though they support him on protest on corruption.  What Anna wants to do? He want government to introduce a bill that government does not agree to…Now ruling alliance either need to issue a whip to all its MPs to pass the bill. In the absence of a whip, if bill fails, government has to resign for trying to pass a bill that it never agreed to….Government should introduce what it think is the right bill. Instead why not Anna ask one of his supporter MPs, who agrees with his bill, to introduce this as a private bill??? He knows the bill will fail. Or wait for next election…he need not stand in election, he can campaign for candidates that support the bill and then pass the bill…Nobody will have a concern then, no need to create such a big drama….Why this short cut undermining all institutions?Ah….that will not get media coverage or probably he possibly knows he does not have the support of all Indian as he claims.

    • Yeah yeah, Government appointed who it thought to be right as ministers. Four of the UPA MPs including its appointed cabinet minister are in jail today thanks to Supreme Court. Around 150 MPs in the parliament have criminal background. If you do not know who is undermining the institutions in this country then you should read a couple of Supreme Court judgements in the past one or two years.

    • Arrogance. Government sending police to forcefully vacate the peacefully sleeping protestors in the middle of the night. Government sending police to arrest a person at his residence alleging him of violating prohibitory orders. This is arrogance. Not a peaceful protest.

      If Anna had not recognized parliament then why is he peacefully fighting demanding the parliament pass a strong lokpal bill? How can you not recognize an institution and yet make a protest demanding the institution to act?

      Why did the government first form a joint committee with Team Anna, then ignore it later? Why it did not allow the proceedings of the joint committee to be recorded and televised. What is there to be so scared of or so secretive about it? As long as a bill is NOT unconstitutional, every citizen in the country has a right to press for it.

      Democracy is not just elect your representatives, and dont even bother for the next five years about what they do and how they run the country. You cannot have elections everyday, so you have protests. This is a legitimate form of protest in every democracy across the world. Only in India we make statements like stand for elections if you want a law to be passed.

      Infact other democracies like US, Canada, Switzerland, all have options for people to recall their elected representatives if they dont like their way of functioning. High time we introduce that in India too. Then there will be little need for protests like this there after.

  4. Anna has been able to gather lot of support. And government needs to consider it….But that does not give him the right to decide what should be the content of a bill and how should it be passed. India is more than TV posing middle class from Cities…..If he has the support of majority of Inidians, prove it legimately. Then no one will question. What stops him from doing it….The claim that he is not politician is farce…He can still campaign for candidates that support him, if the candidates he supports win, he can easily pass the bill. Nothing stops him from doing it.  If he can gather majority of India now, he can do that in an election too….

    • This is another misunderstanding. Anna is NOT a lawyer, the janlokpal bill is framed by the lawyers and is supported by Anna. The lawyers who framed the bill are also former union law ministers, and have been fighting for a strong lokpal for decades.

  5. Excellent article. I totally support all that you have written. Can you also shed some light on this claim that one hears often- “What if Jan lokpal (if introduced) falls into wrong hands after this current set (Anna,Bhushans, Kejriwal, Bedi..) finish their term and a new batch comes in? It would be back to square one all over again”. My idea is that these distinguished members of the Jan lokpal will find a way to filter n bring in only the right ones. And if this bill does come into existence, I’m guessing many more of the younger educated sensible and patriotic lot will be willing to do something for the country righteously.

    • The Jan Lokpal Bill makes the selection process as independent and as transparent as possible. There is a separate search committee first which comprises of retired constitutional authorities which will draft the first list of eligible candidates. Even public participation is allowed in this. Then there is the second selection committee which includes 2 politicians, 4 judges and 2 independent constitutional authorities. This selection committee will finally select the Lokpal.

      On contrary, in the government version of the bill, 10 members – 5 from ruling party/alliance and 6 politicians in all will select the Lokpal. 6/10 means politicians will have the majority in selecting the Lokpal! Now that speaks about what the government really wants.

  6. Im happy that atleast there is One Gandhian  Leader who still wears a Gandhicap and follows the foot steps of Great Bapu. I see him as Bapu reborn. About the claims referred to in this article, now people of the Nation realise, how Jittery the Politicians  from past six decades are.   As Politicians, whether, they served Nation, or themselves, has to be decided, through participation of every single citizen of Indian Nation.  
    Leave Political parties to their fate, by seeking accountability for every action, in- action, the Mass movement against corruption  shall start @every village of India without further loss to Indian Economy, and International Prestige.

  7. Thanks for those links Anil. Quite legal in detail, and I actually find no problem with what has been said about Lokpal in these articles.  I mean just look at the corrupt ministers, public servants in this country. You think one can tame them without such a strong Lokpal institution? Look how the honest Lokayuktas today after having provided ample proof of corruption against government ministers have the right to only SUBMIT their report which in most of the cases only gathers dust. Just the very existence of a strong Lokpal will bring down a lot of corruption in this country. Unless and until they see a couple of hundred corrupt people in power being punished harshly there is no way that corruption will come down in this society. And that can only happen if there is an independent strong Lokpal. 

    Corrupt public servants dont care today because no matter how corrupt they are, it is not easy to dismiss them from their job. Corrupt minsters dont care today because no matter how corrupt they are, the cases go on for prolonged time, probably even after their death, and their corrupt wealth is never confiscated. The more ifs and buts you introduce in an anti-corruption system, the more delay it will cause, and that will encourage corruption. Action should be swift in corruption cases.And just read the articles again. Look at the provision also to remove a corrupt lokpal official no matter in what position he is. This also deters corruption within the Lokpal itself, isn’t it? 

    The comparison of existing state Lokayuktas to the proposed Lokpal in the second article (in the list of three) is totally wrong. THe existing Lokayuktas have no power other than recommending action and showing proof. Which is what even the government’s version of Lokpal bill is like. So you cannot say that strong Lokpal should not be there because current Lokayuktas have not been effective. As a matter of fact, even with the very limited powers, the Lokayukta in Karnataka was able to make the chief minister get down from his post. If it had the proposed powers, then it would have even prosecuted him and by now he would have been in jail, with all his illegally acquired wealth confiscated. But that has not happened, and he will take on this legal battle for years in the courts. The proposed Lokpal will not allow this to happen and hence will be a great deterrent against corruption.

    Finally, I dont understand why are people so much worried about an institution which can ONLY take cases of corruption. It is not as if it can go and punish any person with no proof. Look at the amount of black money, the tax evasion, bribes, illegal mining, etc. The corruption has such massive tentacles in this country that without a strong Lokpal I dont think the corruption will be out of this country even in my great grand children’s time :)

    • Also, one more interesting fact that I have noticed. Whereas the JanLokpal Bill is biased against the public servant( so say that first article of those three links), the Government Lokpal bill is biased against the complainant himself. In the Government version, the complainant can be imprsioned for 5 years for false complaint. And, hold your breath, the Government itself will provide the lawyer and money required by the public servant to defend himself, whereas the poor complainant will have to fight all alone with no assistance with his own money. Now, who will lodge complaint in the first place if this is the case?? Clearly shows on whose side the government is.

      This government version of bill is “structurally sick” that no standing committee of parliament can make it healthy. The government should table JanLokpal bill in parliament. Today Team Anna has said that they are ok with Prime minister and judciary being out of purview. So, whats the problem? Agreed, JanLokpal has technical mistakes like not separating “judge, jury, executioner”. But the parliament can debate it and rectify those technical mistakes. 

      If you ask me, its just the ego of parlimentarians that is preventing JanLokpill bill from being tabled. They  have terribly “disgusting contempt” towards us – ordinay unelected citizens. Need proof? Watch Parliamentary affairs minister Narayaswamy talk in any of TV debate shows regarding Lokpal.

      • Very true, all those speaking on behalf of the government simply do not understand the people’s pulse. They keep chanting the same mantras like “We Decide”, “Parliament is Supreme”, “no magic wands”, etc. Constitutional expert Fali Nariman has clearly said that in the constitution of India “WE THE PEOPLE” comes before Parliament or President or Prime Minister. Only that our Parliamentarians are unable to understand that.

  8. hi, I have been reading all the write up emailed to me. this is regarding anna hazare issue. there is no second opinion that at this stage of Indian development, corruption can pose a greater obstacle to growth than any. according to learned economists of the country, this can prevent or delay any further development. in this light, my opinion is that anna hazare has only reflected a mind on corruption. however, to insist that only his lok pal bill should be accepted is like asking you to write only those articles that somebody else dictates. rightly or wrongly, we have a parliamentary system based on election process. unless we have changed our position en masse, the existence of such a parliament cannot be questioned. more basic  is the issue of support that hazare and his group are receiving. they are receiving it from those whose antecedents are a suspect. can one say that bjp led nda provided a completely transparent government during its tenure. that you have a prima facie against yedurappa does not seem to trouble the like of anna hazare. to put it succicntly right now if jan lok pal version is accepted to to, then it is going to stir hornests nest and subsequent developments cannot be palatable.

    • First and foremost, it is not Anna’s Lokpal Bill. Anna is NOT a lawyer, the Jan lokpal bill is drafted by legal experts in the movement. And more importantly the it is a further improvised version of the Lokpal Bill which lawyer Shanti Bhushan has been trying to get passed in the parliament for the PAST 40 YEARS! So it is not as if Anna simply created a bill on his own. Only legal experts with adequate knowledge of the system functionality can draft it. So it is not just Anna’s Bill, and now with the mass public support, it is people’s Bill. The same people who elect the parliament in question.

      Secondly, and not less importantly, what is the alternative bill? The government’s version? It is a Jokepal Bill. It only creates a Lokpal with no power to prosecute, a lokpal which can only RECOMMEND action. Do we need another dummy institution in this country at the expense of tax payer’s money?

      And what is Anna demanding for? To make their Jan Lokpal Bill a law without discussion? Remember they even agreed to become part of government committee to discuss the pros and cons of their bill. It was the government which ditched them in the last second and introduced their own dummy version in the parliament. All Anna is demanding now is to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill inside the parliament. What is the government’s problem to table Jan Lokpal Bill inside the parliament? Then the members can debate and discuss about whether to make it a law or not, or suggest any changes. Why is the government so scared to table Jan Lokpal Bill in the parliament? Anna is not asking to make it a law without discussion and knows very well that parliament passes the law.

      BJP is supporting Anna for their own political gain, but within the movement itself no political parties are allowed. BJP tried to join the movement many a times, but was never allowed. So that is completely irrelevant. And moreover in a democracy how can you treat somebody as an untouchable in terms of a democratic movement? 

      The simple answer is, Corruption is looting India and depriving millions of their right to live a dignified life. Corruption is stalling our economic progress. You talk about parliament supremacy, the fact is parliament only PASSES a law, its not as if parliament is ultimate. Constitution is ultimate in India. If Supreme Court finds that a law passed by Parliament is unconstitutional, then it can strike down that law.

  9. I think its time that all of us who strongly feel that corruption should be rooted out, should stop all work and get into streets to protest against govt’s actions. During the India-Pak Semifinal match, although it was a working day, the whole India had stopped working. why cant we do the same for such a noble cause? and until and unless we all  support Anna and team out in the streets, hand in hand, we will not be able to pass on a powerful message to govt to accept the Jan lokpal bill. 

  10. Only issue with Lokpal is, what if wrong person become Lokayukta? My understanding of Lokpal = parallel judicary system. But we cant focus on negativity and think of positive future, so in current circumstances strong Lokpal bill is only way.

    Though I am not big fan of conpiracy theories, But
    I don’t understand, in this mean world how can someone like Anna be so selfless? Why other movements mentioned in above article never got same kind of reponse from media, public etc. I am not doubting integritiy of anyone, but it looks a bit fishy to me(may be I am narrow minded :) ). How this sounds 13th President of Independent India Mr. Anna Hazare?

    Neverthless movement is right and we should support it irrespective of whoever reprresenting this kind of movements.

    • Well, independent institution does not mean legal immunity to its head. What if the wrong person becomes the prime minister of India? There are other institutions to take care of that. Similarly in case of Lokayukta or Lokpal there are institutions too. Judiciary is always there. Lokayukta cannot prosecute and punish somebody without evidence. It will then be akin to saying what if a wrong person becomes a judge? In the Jan Lokpal Bill draft there are provisions to prosecute and punish Lokpal members too if found guilty of misuse of office and power.

      The Jan Lokpal only ensures that the Lokpal has power not only to collect evidence against the corrupt, but instead of simply recommending action against the corrupt to the government, it also has powers to take action on its own – but all within the framework of the constitution just like how judiciary takes actions. If it remains only a recommending body, as the government wants, see what happened in Karnataka – Lokayukta found evidence against Chief Minister of the state, but had to submit the report to the state government to recommending action against its Chief Minister! Which party in power will take action on the report. It was because of interference from BJP high command fearing public resent that the chief minister was then made to resign.Tell me what Anna has to gain personally from all this? Look at his age. He lives such a simple life.Who elects the President? The party in power. Do you really think after making a mass movement against the government anybody can expect to be elected as the President of India? :-)

    • Correct the spelling – It is Gandhi
      Nehru accompanied Gandhi in the freedom movement with the right spirit. As a PM he has also done wonders to the country alongside the blunders like Kashmir and war with China. The building of dams, industrialization, scientific research, establishment of IITs etc were great initiatives by Nehru.

      But it is also a fact that he wanted to become the PM of India at any cost, if not Partition of India would not have happened. If he had agreed to make Jinnah the prime minister of India, then there would have been no partition, nor would there be such a terrorist threat to the country today.

    • Yes, keeping PM out of lokpal because of a security threat to the country is a silly argument. Guess the real security threat is to the dynastic Nehru family (I dont call it Gandhi family), because Rahul is projected as PM in waiting :)

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