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Let's support Anna Hazare

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 17:18
Biplob Ghosal
Loud and Clear

It’s time to stand tall and stop cribbing about government’s mismanagement or inaction against its tainted ministers. We all complain, but do nothing, but here’s a chance to show the citizen’s power and make the government pass an effective Lokpal Bill, which will give us the right to jail corrupt big fishes.

Here is one man, who has given us a direction to root out corruption. Anna Hazare - the 72-year-old social activist is not fasting unto death to grab limelight, but instead he is pitching-in to give us and our children a better and stronger India.

The common man, who is busy earning his livelihood and votes for politicians, thinks that the elected will be there to take care of his future. However, dilemma is that the common man has been duped and thrown into darkness, and above all, he cannot take any action as the law doesn’t allow him to do so.

Annaji once said, “I wonder why people do not understand that in a republic, power is meant to be vested in them. But power has gone to politicians or bureaucrats although they are considered public servants. How ironic!”

So, it’s time to rally behind this modern ‘Mahatma’ and secure our coming generation’s future.

The thing that stumps me is the government’s attitude, why is it reluctant on the Bill?

If this government formulates an effective Bill and gets it through the Parliament, it will be a masterstroke for the Congress, already fighting to project a clean image.

By not passing the Bill, Congress is certainly distancing itself away from the voters, who will again vote in 2014 elections, which Manmohan Singh led government seems to be forgetting.

To me there can be only one reason for its objection – the Jan Lokpal Bill might tighten the noose around the politicians who want to hide themselves in the garb of government-drafted Lokpal Bill.

And it’s not just about the Congress, successive governments have failed to put in place, for the past 42 years, a law that would make even the most powerful accountable to the state on the issue of corruption.

Drafted by Justice Santosh Hegde (present Lokayukta of Karnataka), Prashant Bhushan (SC lawyer) and Arvind Kejriwal (RTI activist), the Jan Lokpal Bill is an anti-corruption bill, drawn up by prominent civil society activists seeking the appointment of a Jan Lokpal, an independent body that would investigate corruption cases, complete the investigation within a year and envisage trials in the case getting over in the next one year.

The bare differences between the government proposed Lokpal bill and the Jan Lokpal bill depict that the current form of the Lokpal bill lacks teeth.

In any case, no action can be initiated or suo motu in case of government's Lokpal bill, whereas, in Jan Lokpal bill, one can directly entertain complaints from the public and it will not require any permission from anyone to initiate investigation in any case.

Government proposes that Lokpal Bill will be an advisory body, which will forward its enquiry report to the competent authority for action whereas Jan Lokpal bill has powers to initiate prosecution in any case after completion of investigations.

Government's Lokpal will not have any police powers and cannot register any FIR whereas, with Jan Lokpal bill, FIR can be registered and one can proceed with criminal investigations and launch prosecution.

As per the government's Lokpal bill, no investigation can be made against the Prime Minister in matters dealing with foreign affairs, security and defence. But the Jan Lokpal Bill proposes no such bar on Lokpal's powers.

The government's Lokpal bill proposes that bureaucrats and government officers will not come under jurisdiction whereas, the Jan Lokpal will have jurisdiction over politicians, officials and even judges.

Corruption in public life can only be eliminated when, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "a small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history".

People from all sections of the society have come forward and extended their support. Older generation and the GenX have together come forward and extended their support to this bill.

People have taken leave from their jobs, school children have come forward. Day and night people are there at Jantar Mantar, where Annaji has been fasting for the last three days.

But still, there’s a need to enlighten the masses and people should wholeheartedly support this movement.

Civil society's battle against corruption has acquired its sharpest edge, all that is needed now is that people to step out from their comfort zones and come forward and stand united to bring about “change”.

First Published: Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 17:18

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