Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anna's victory?

Amidst the din of euphoria following Anna Hazare breaking his 12 day old fast, if one looks closely one would realize that the civil society has not really won its battle. Its demand that only their version of the bill be passed was not agreed to. Their demand that the bill be passed without reference to the standing committee was also not acceded to. So also was their bill to include the PM. All that the government did was to agree to consider the Jan Lokpal bill along with the other versions and then bring in a comprehensive bill which will be placed before the committee and then before the parliament to make it into a law. The demand for a time frame too was not agreed to.

Then what did the movement and Anna Hazare’s fast achieve? It showed the government that the people of this country are indeed fed up with the poor governance and the indifference that they are being treated with by the beurocracy and politicians. That is what made the likes of Manish Tiwari and Kapil Sibal disappear from the scene in a hurry.

I was witness to the JP movement which Madame Indira Gandhi ruthlessly suppressed in the seventies. Popular sentiment was against her and she lost the elections. Then what happened? The stalwarts of the JP movement took the reins of power [Janata party rule]. Within two years they proved to be worse and Indira came to power again. Hopefully we will not have that again.

Having said this I don’t want this anti establishment [anti corruption, effective delivery of services, electoral reforms, decentralization of power] movement to lose its tempo and die down.

Aside: How is it that Anna with hardly any resources, managed to get so many followers? It is because of the congress spokes persons. Every time Manish Tiwari spoke 20,000 volunteers joined, when Kapil Sibal spoke, 50,000 did and when Ambika Soni spoke 100,000 joined. Saving grace was that Jayanthi Natarajan did not speak. Otherwise the whole country would have been on the streets!

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