April 7, 2011

Anna Hazare shakes government, finally

India News today salutes Anna
Social activist Anna Hazare is on fast-unto-death to force the government to form a joint committee comprising fifty per cent officials and the remaining citizens and intellectuals, to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill. This bill is a strong version of the Lokpal Bill (Ombudsman Bill), 2010 submitted by the government and takes into account the views and suggestions taken from civil society and common people. Hazare and many others feel that the Lokpal Bill, in its present form, is toothless. 

Hazare’s fight is against the government’s mindset, as much as it is against corruption.
The Congress party is behaving the way it behaves whenever it is faced with embarrassment: field its public faces, most of them lawyers, to give specious arguments instead of taking a corrective step. Remember the arguments they proffered to avoid JPC on 2G, while allowing the parliament to not function? Moily now says, government is open to all discussions… the bill will be discussed in parliamentary standing committee…Manish Tiwari says, PM has already constituted a committee [suggesting that till the committee gives its report, agitating against graft is premature]... PMO said, Anna’s action caused them deep disappointment… Hazare is insisting that only his draft should be accepted, without dialogue... PM, himself, is mum as is expected of him. 

When the Congress stooped again and launched a smear campaign against Hazare’s fast, the septuagenarian leader could not resist writing to PM, slamming the reaction of his government and Congress to his fast and urging him to show courage to take necessary steps to fight corruption. As of dialogue, Anna says, “When did we say no to dialogue. Dialogue should take place with those who have power to take decisions, whether (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi or Prime Minister.” 

Now that people have found a torch-bearer, they are supporting him in hordes. Political parties too are supporting him, with the intention to prove clean. A person of highly suspect integrity, OP Chautala, during whose rule in Haryana it was said that he takes bribe even from his own father, too showed the guts to visit Anna! Good that he was shooed away by Anna’s supporters.

Feeling the heat, the government too has started making slightly saner noises. Kapil Sibal, after meeting Hazare supporters - Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal - said today that the government was one with the agitators and would work with them and have further dialogue with them. 

India News Today, in its small way, has been raising its voice against corruption through its posts. Since blogging demands a lot of time, especially when you try to write sensibly, we have not been very active and so not very popular. Yet, with about 400 visits a month, we perhaps have been able to share our views with at least some people. We strongly support Anna.

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