Anna Hazare and team are back in town but this time, not with much of a bang as they could muster the support of less than few thousand people in the first three days of their stir. After a breathless, word-by-word coverage of Hazare and his team last August, this time around the response has so far been cold. It seems that Team Anna is struggling, mainly because of contradiction within.
The anti-graft agitation led by Hazare, which was seen as the second independence movement by the people across the country, who whole heartedly support it, has almost lost its sheen and direction with the passage of time. It is also ironic that Hazare, who was projected as the leader of masses (or so as we thought), has been reduced to just a mere figure.
Team Anna's campaign against corruption appears like Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's plays, where everyone does what they are asked to do with out questioning the might of the writer. The only difference is that here are multiple writes with different objectives hence an obvious chaos. Hazare has his agenda, team members have their own agenda, political parties their own and the anti-corruption movement which is trying to fit in the frame is struggling to survive.
Growing pressure with in the team to form a political party is the only possible explanation to Hazare's latest announcement that they can form a new 'people's party' to contest 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The divide with in the team again surfaced few days back when in a press conference Hazare and his team spoke in different voices. The Gandhian asserted that the fast was for Lokpal Bill while his aides declared that it was limited to their three demands, including setting up Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into allegations against UPA ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Another reason for the decline of the movement is Team Anna's fondness of questioning the authority of Parliament and criticising Members of Parliament (MPs) which has reunited the politicians of different parties, some of whom otherwise were supporting the anti-corruption movement. But making mockery of Parliament by some Team Anna members in public, forced these politicians to rethink of their support to the team.
Most importantly the allegations, with out any proof, which Team Anna is making on people like Pranab Mukherjee, who took over as President of India on July 25, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Salman Khurshid, who have a clear image in front of the people and even Opposition, has somehow isolated the team from its supporters.
Sensing that Team Anna this time did not gathered expected support from the common people and political parties, opposed to Congress, the government speaks very tough, refusing any talks with the team. Even Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who heads the committee on Lokpal Bill, declared that the Bill cannot be introduced in Parliament during the ensuing monsoon session, directly questioning and confronting with Team Anna authority. However, he gave the reason for taking the view points of everyone intoconsideration before preparing final report.
Nobody can dispute that corruption eats vitals of the country, which otherwise could have been utilized for the upliftment of the poor, who are struggling to make a dignified living. But the big question is whether Lokpal Bill is the answer to all the corruption related issue in India? And most importantly, do the people who support Jan Lokpal Bill know what the Bill is all about.
The things which I object in proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is that it has the potential to turn from something inclusive to something very dangerous. The Jan Lokpal Bill has the power to create a parallel oligarchy - it has the power of policing, the power to transfer judges, power to prosecute and the power to tap your phone.
It's really like a parallel power which will have no accountability of what ever a representative government might have. The Bill further says that the panel which consists of 10 people and the chairmen will be selected by a pool of very elegant people.
Are the people who are supporting the Jan Lokpal Bill being misled by Team Anna, who have on many occasions said that it will remove corruption from its root in India?
There are already strict laws available under which we can deal with the corrupt people as was evident from the fact a number of central ministers and ministers in different states have to go jails.
What is corruption; is it just financial irregularities or is it the currency of social transition in a very unequal society.
There are people who have to pay bribe for small things, like getting a ration card, voter id etc. There are businessmen who can't function with out paying bride. Then there are corporates and politicians who loot millions of taxpayers money.
There is another larger section of people who live outside the legal frame work because they don't have legal housing, they live in slums and they are selling their things on roadside footpaths. An anti-corruption law is naturally pinned to an accepted legality, so you talk about rule of law when all of your laws are designed to perpetuate the inequality that exists in Indian society.
There are number of schemes for poor and backward people, which if implemented could change their destiny. But the funds released by central and state governments never reach them because of corruption in the system.
So if we want change which really matters at the grassroot, we need to get those people in the legal frame work so that they are not exploited. The best way to do so is to introduce and promote Aadhaar in a better and effective way. Aadhaar card is the only tool which if used properly can at least contain corruption at the grassroot.