They lost their stronghold completely this time. Mumbaikars gave tough time to Anna and his campaign. Anna Hazare did not make any reference to the earlier plans of going to Delhi for a dharna outside the residence of Congress Supremo Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and about the jail bharo agitation (filling up of jails) after that.
Anyway, Hazare’s anti-corruption movement that saw Indians rally in support has been named among the top 10 news stories in the world this year, by the Time magazine which listed the Arab Spring and killing of Osama bin Laden as the top attention-grabbing headlines.
The selection of the ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign as one of the important events world wide is a timely recognition of the effort in India to cleanse its government and political system from the scourge of corruption. And therefore it is only fitting that Time magazine should indeed acknowledge the anti-corruption crusade led by the social activist.
And given this global recognition, it is only appropriate that as the year 2011 draws to a close, the Lokpal Bill is also accepted in the Rajya Sabha with civility. This will mean that the UPA government, political parties along with Team Anna will have to close ranks and work together.
The UPA-II, in place of responding positively to the Lokpal, tried to distract the attention by raising a futile argument that Parliament is the only place where matters could be discussed. Yes, Parliament has the sole right to legislate, but people too have the right to express their opinions outside Parliament. It will be prudent that the government heed to debate outside the Parliament.
As far as the failure to arrive at a consensus is concerned, both the Congress led UPA-II and the Opposition are equally responsible. If government showed confusion, the Opposition that has always been there to exploit mass discontent took contradictory positions on major issues involved. It's not clear whether the Opposition wants Prime Minister and the corruption investigative wing of the CBI under the ambit of the Lokpal.
Employees of grade C and others below them can be dealt with a separate mechanism as mentioned in the Sense of the House statement. For judges’ accountability an effective Judicial Accountability Law need to be legislated. If required, separate laws can be legislated for Citizens charter and such other issues. The moot point is that Lokpal could not be converted into a vast parallel administration.
This will go against the scheme envisaged by the framers of the Constitution. Besides, the Lokpal with its entire machinery be accountable to Parliament. Apart from that, another point to be noted is that corruption in our society is not an isolated phenomenon. It is an inevitable by-product of crony capitalism.
It assumed gigantic proportions under the half-baked neo-liberalism. People, particularly the workers, farmers, agriculture workers are fighting against them. Inflation, unemployment, widening gap between haves and have nots and emergence of a few very powerful Corporate entities too are by-products of half-done economic neo-liberalism. Common people are hit even worse by these.
Finally, Lokpal Act if adopted will be yet another law. There are many laws for curbing corruptions and other evils. By experience we know that most of these laws have been observed more in violation. Politicians, top bureaucracy and corporate houses have developed expertise in using them to serve their interests.
Hence the real test of any new law will be in implementing it with full sincerity. Hence the fight against corruption or any of the evils, economic or social has to be linked with fight for the change of the system.
As for the team led by Anna Hazare, they have already demonstrated what they are capable of. By way of protest and rallying people around the India Against Corruption campaign, the government as well as Parliament have been put on notice.
They have nothing anymore to prove to anyone. Everything that they want in the Lokpal Bill may not be possible. Having acted as the watchdog for a strong Lokpal, Team Anna must now leave the matter to the collective wisdom of Parliament and the good conscience of our elected representatives.