Anna’s arrest, a failure of democratic system

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 15:13
 
Biplob Ghosal  

The nation which boasts of being the world’s largest democracy was shaken a day after it celebrated its 65th Independence Day.
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Gandhian activist Anna Hazare, along with other civil society members, was detained as he was setting out for his fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill at Jai Prakash Narain Memorial Park in Delhi.
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What is the most disturbing is that the Congress party, which never tires from singing its own praises for being the oldest party and a custodian of rights of the Aam Aadmi, is leading this undemocratic way of suppressing a popular movement.
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The Congress party seems to have forgotten its idol Mahatma Gandhi who himself taught this nation to be tolerant and follow the path of ‘satygraha’ and ‘ahimsa’.
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It’s worrying to see that citizens are not being allowed to protest peacefully. This is a reminder of the pre-independence British era.
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What is wrong in people demanding a bill, which will not only book the corrupt, but also save their hard earned money from being spent as bribes.
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If political parties can protest against each other’s policies, then why can’t the common man – the true representative of India - peacefully protest?
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Though I am against including the Prime Minister and Judiciary under the Lokpal ambit, surely all the bureaucrats, MLAs and MPs need to be under the ombudsman.
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However, the moot question is whether we are living in a democratic society or in an autocracy.
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On Sunday, Kapil Sibal criticised Anna Hazare for asking people to take leave office and join the movement. He also alleged that Team Anna wanted media coverage, that’s why they wanted a venue in central Delhi.
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I would like to ask Kapil Sibal what’s wrong in Anna Hazare requesting people, school children or college students to come out and join the movement. He isn’t forcing them, it’s just an appeal and the people of this nation are intelligent enough to judge what is best for them.
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When political parties stage a ‘chakka jam’ and protests in public places, then other politicians don’t have any problem. They themselves come door-to-door during elections, and even use money power to garner votes.
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The government’s approach towards Jan Lokpal movement has been totally unconstitutional.
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Hazare has dubbed his agitation against corruption as the "second freedom struggle". I think he is absolutely right in saying this and it is the duty of every citizen – who wants the future generation to live in a corruption free society – to join this crusade.
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What baffles me is why Congress is reluctant to bring a strong Lokpal Bill. In my view, if this government formulates an effective Bill and gets it through Parliament, it will be a masterstroke for the ruling party which is already fighting to project a clean image. <br><br>
By scuttling Team Anna’s Bill, Congress is certainly sending a wrong message to voters, who will again choose a national government in 2014. It seems the Manmohan Singh-led government has forgotten this fact.
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There can be only one reason for its objection to the Jan Lokpal Bill – that it might tighten the noose around politicians who want to hide behind the government-drafted Lokpal Bill.
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Anna Hazare has asked people to not let this agitation simmer down and at the same time appealed to the public to remain peaceful. Anna has called people to court arrest and join the ‘jail bharo’ movement.
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Being responsible citizens, it is now our duty to come out of our comfort zones and stand united to bring about a “change”.
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As Anna Hazare rightly said, “We are ready to sacrifice our lives but we will not buckle under pressure."
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If the nation fails to wake up today, we may never have another chance to bring an end to the menace of corruption.



First Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 15:13

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