Anna saga drags on amid political war; LS to debate on Saturday
Parliament was convened for a special sitting Saturday in a bid to end the dragging fast by Anna Hazare even as Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said that a Lokpal bill could not alone end corruption, prompting Team Anna to hit back.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said Friday that the bill alone could not eradicate corruption and suggested that the institution of the ombudsman be given constitutional status like the Election Commission.
In his first comments on the nationwide debate on corruption, Gandhi told the Lok Sabha that the hotly contested bill was only “one element” to eradicate corruption.
He also thanked Hazare for helping people articulate their feelings of disillusionment. “It is not a matter of how the present impasse will resolve, it is a much greater battle,” he said.
“Witnessing the events of the last few days it would appear that the enactment of a single bill will usher in a corruption free society. I have serious doubts about this belief.
“An effective Lokpal law is only one element in the legal framework to combat corruption. The Lokpal institution alone cannot be a substitute for a comprehensive anti-corruption code,” Gandhi said.
This led to an uproar, and Gandhi had to interrupt his speech for several minutes.
As opposition MPs led by the BJP tried to shout him down, treasury benches, led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, countered by saying Gandhi was speaking the “bitter truth”.
In another intervention being seen as crucial, Gandhi, 41, suggested that the Lokpal be given constitutional status equivalent to the Election Commission.
“Why not elevate the debate, let us take it further and fortify the Lokpal bill by making it a constitutional body like the Election Commission of India?” he asked during zero hour.
“A tactical incursion, divorced from the machinery of an elected government that seeks to undo the checks and balances created to protect the supremacy of parliament sets a dangerous precedent for a democracy,” the Congress MP said. “Today the proposed law is against corruption. Tomorrow the target may be something less universally heralded. It may attack the plurality of our society and democracy.”
Stating that “corruption was all pervasive”, he said it operated at all levels and could not “be wished away”. Firm political will, he said, was needed to combat it.
“We speak of a statutory body (Lokpal) but our discussions cease at the point of accountability to the people and the risk that it may itself become corrupt,” he said.
“Laws and institutions are not enough, accessible democracy is central to fighting corruption,” he said, stressing that democratic processes should not be weakened in the pursuit for a Lokpal.
“I believe in government funding of political party, I believe in empowering the youth, in moving democracy to villages. I know a lot of my colleagues share these ideas regardless of the political lines. Let us commit ourselves to truth. We owe it to the people of India,” he said.
‘Lok’ Jam: Opinion
Flaws in Jan Lokpal bill, can’t get passed: Advani
Some provisions of the Jan Lokpal bill had inherent flaws and parliament would find it difficult to pass it in its present form, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said Friday in a candid assessment of the document. “I know what are the flaws in the provisions of the Jan Lokpal bill due to which it will not get passed. And this, I tried to explain to them (Team Anna) yesterday,” Advani said.
Ex-CEC Seshan prepare's his own Lokpal Bill
Former chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan has submitted a draft of the Lokpal Bill and Lokayukta to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He said that if the Government and Team Anna agree on his proposed draft than it can implemented soon. “I have sent a draft bill on Lokpal and Lokayukta to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. If the Government and Anna agree my proposed bill can be implemented tomorrow,” Seshan said.
Kiran Bedi and A. Kejriwal
Is it the Anna Team or the K-Team?; Splits appear in team Anna
- CM will be under Lokayukta in Assam: Tarun Gogoi
- Anna’s protest right, but Parliament supreme: Infosys founder N Murthy
- Dalits rally against Anna at India Gate says they would not allow anyone to “tinker” with the Constitution.
Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption, is being viewed by a section as merely a ‘tool’ used by Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and the father-son duo of Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan. Sources disclosed that sensing the campaign against corruption, which hit the government with a series of 2G exposes, the team of four started to look around for a credible face.
Speaking to a national daily on condition of anonymity, a member of India Against Corruption (IAC) disclosed that when the Kejriwal team failed to make any impact on the corruption issue and get Kiran Bedi posted as CIC chief, it zeroed in on Hazare to plan the next move.
Earlier, Hazare had been a part of K-Team only to endorse their move to install Bedi as CIC chief following the retirement of Wajahat Habibullah, sources said.
The IAC member said Kejriwal, Bedi and the Bhushans decided to make the Lokpal Bill the main weapon to fight corruption and emerge into the limelight. Hazare’s clean image made Kejriwal pick him as the movement’s mascot. Before Roy and other civil society members realized it, Kejriwal had “stolen the thunder”, the IAC member said.
Clear divisions appeared in Team Anna on Friday as two key members of the civil society - Justice Santosh Hegde and Swami Agnivesh - slammed it for continuing with its hard line even after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to an open debate in Parliament over the issue of Jan Lokpal.
The former Lokayukta of Karnataka, Justice Hedge, said Hazare should end his fast and even hinted that he was being used by some members of Team Anna.
Hegde said there were many people with their own agenda in this group, he felt.
For More Updates, follow us on and