Will government bend before Anna?



Will government bend before Anna?Gayatri Sankar

With Anna Hazare’s indefinite hunger strike continuing, the 74-year-old Gandhian’s anti-corruption drive seems to have taken a dramatic turnaround. Team Anna and the government sat over the Jan Lokpal Bill to discuss some core issues on 23rd August evening. However, talks so far have been inconclusive. It could possibly be a `wait and watch` tactic of the government to see how the opposition reacts to the Jan Lokpal draft.

As per the reports, the government has no qualms in the inclusion of the Prime Minister in the Jan Lokpal Bill. However, three points remain debatable!

• Lokayukta under all states

• Lower bureaucracy covered under Lokpal

• Citizen’s charter

Moreover Team Anna has also insisted on having an anti corruption wing of the CBI under Lokpal so as to bifurcate investigation thereby improving accountability. They have also asked the government to withdraw their Lokpal Bill draft from the Parliament or call it redundant.

Anna’s aides Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhusan addressed the conglomeration at the iconic Ramlila Maidan, educating them about the latest developments. Team Anna looked determined and hell bent on a written confirmation from the government on the issues mutually agreed upon.

Anna’s anshan became a controversial subject with comments and criticism pouring in from all directions since 16th August. Some strong critics including the likes of writer Arundhati Roy and Aruna Roy have slammed Anna’s ‘indefinite fast antic,’ so to say. They also went on describing it as a ‘blackmailing method’ deployed by the self-proclaimed representatives of the civil society.


Anna’s Jan Lokpal Bill drew flak from many other social activists, who thought it was essential to channelize the uproar into a sane dialogue with the government and other individuals representing the civil society.

But Anna and team are in no mood to withdraw the agitation, for they have been successful to a great extent in awakening civil sense among the people of India and also instilled in the drive to fight for one’s fundamental rights. Anna has been instrumental in bringing a rainbow coalition of people in unison whose power cannot be undermined, who believe in zero tolerance against corruption.

Even the opposition believes that the corruption issue needs to be addressed immediately. Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi wants an effective anti-corruption legislation to be drafted to tackle the menace.

BJP has also slammed the government of not living up to people’s expectations. They are of the opinion that the people of India are fed up of the ruling party because of its inability to tackle corruption.

Even representatives of the backward class have slapped charges against Anna’s team of being a group of the elite and also called it a right wing party. It seems everyone is clubbing personal grievances to Anna’s anti corruption graft to make hay while the sun is shining.

However, the need of the hour is to rationalise the existing bureaucracy, to uproot red-tapism and corruption at all levels. It might seem to be an insurmountable task at this point in time, but some resolution has to be implemented at the earliest to tackle this menace.

No matter what the detractors of Anna have to say about his movement, his anshan has successfully grabbed eyeballs from across the globe. Hazare’s fight against corruption has unprecedented following which also includes the elite, the middle class and the learned. In all fairness, Anna has generated great amount of civic consciousness among people who have met corruption on a daily basis.

Nonetheless, an ocean of humanity that has been gathering at Ramlila maidan has been under a lot of speculation. Sadly but true, many in the crowd have gathered to kill their time and also to tell their stories to grand children, “I was a part of India’s second freedom struggle”. They are virtual participants - just a floating crowd!

However the greatest danger that looms over the implication of the Jan Lokpal Bill is that it alone cannot heal India of corruption. And in case Jan Lok Pal Bill is introduced, will it guarantee corruption free governance?

Of course not! It is not a magic wand that can eliminate corruption instantly. So Team Anna and the government must try to work upon a draft that improves the existing drafts.

Anna’s health is fast deteriorating yet he refuses to take drip. And considering the fact that the government is ready for discussion, Anna must reconsider prolonging his fast. Though Anna’s movement has been quite a peaceful one since its inception, Anna’s declining health in a worse case scenario might threaten law and order situation. Reportedly, a group of people claiming to be Anna’s followers had brutally beaten up a journalist for no reason. This proved to be sheer hooliganism in Anna’s name.

One must ensure that no one takes this satyagraha movement for granted.

Self transformation is the key to social transformation. So civilians must act as responsible citizens to facilitate a corruption free nation.