By Yatindra Bhatnagar
Anna Hazare's second innings against widespread corruption and the Congress-led UPA government's clueless behavior
have made the Anna Movement stronger. From Jantar Mantar to Tihar Jail to Ramlila Maidan, Anna Hazare has resolutely challenged
and yes, provoked, the government to come out and do something solid to fight the menace.
So far the government has failed, and failed miserably. Actually the government doesn't seem to be serious about
doing something tangible to curb corruption as so much is at stake for the top politicians and bureaucrats, businessmen and
criminals, many of whom are in and around politics.
21, Anna warned the government of "unprecedented revolution" in the country if Lokpal Bill is not passed by August
30. He made it explicit: "Either get the Bill passed or go."
As the second round of Anna's fight began, the government resorted to high-handedness - as it did against Baba Ramdev
on June 4 - and arrested Anna Hazare in an effort to prevent him from starting his fast from August 16. This was after the
permission to him was given by the authorities.
of giving permission and putting numerous restrictions on a peaceful protest is itself absolutely wrong, arrogant exercise
of power, also quite one sided and outright discriminatory. It's so strange, totally unacceptable and shocking that the government
put restrictions on a peaceful protest and has no power to do anything to stone-throwing, unruly, treasonous and violent protests
and Bandhs that have become a way of life for separatists in Kashmir and elsewhere. Is resorting to violence and threatening
Indian democracy with bomb blasts only way to make yourself heard? No, not in my thinking, nor of Team Anna.
So why did the government behave with a Police State mind-set? May be there is
no one with political savvy and sense of responsibility and political experience to handle a situations like Anna Hazare's
movement. The result has been haphazard handling and about-turn. Now Anna Hazare is continuing his fast, and the movement,
from Ramlila Maidan and the government is reportedly coming round to have another round of discussion with Team Anna. It's
another political move but seems devoid of sincerity.
consistent, persistent and steadfast. His message to the government is clear: Either act or quit. The government, understandably,
is not ready to quit. So they have to act. And how would they do that? Anna Hazare clarified it, strongly.
Reports from India said: Accusing the government of "betraying" the civil
society on the Lokpal issue, Hazare, whose fast entered the sixth day on Sunday, told a large gathering of his supporters
at the Ramlila Maidan here that the government is not honest in its intent to fight corruption.
"If the Government does not get the Lokpal Bill passed by August 30 there would be an unprecedented revolution
in the country by the people.... The government will have to either get the Bill passed (in Parliament) or go," he said
after a large number of people marched from India Gate to the Maidan expressing solidarity with him.
Calling his campaign against corruption as the beginning of the "second struggle for Independence," the
73-year-old Gandhian asked the youth to keep the "flame of revolution burning whether Anna is alive or not."
Noting that he has been fighting against corruption for the past 20 years, Hazare
said the government betrayed them on the Lokpal issue despite constituting a joint committee for drafting the Bill.
"They constituted a joint committee after my fast in April. But nothing came
out of that meeting despite talking for two months. They betrayed the civil society. The government's intention to fight corruption
is not noble," he said.
Recalling the events leading to
his arrest by the Delhi Police on August 16 before he was to launch his indefinite fast at JP Park, Hazare said the police
came and took him and some of his associates and later told them that they have been arrested.
Hazare said, "We told them that we are not scared of getting arrested. Only people who commit crime are scared
of arrest, people who go to jail for the cause of the nation are proud of getting arrested."
He said within hours after he was lodged in Tihar Jail, a police officer came to him and said that he was being released.
"I told him that I will not leave the jail until Parliament
passes the Jan Lokpal Bill. I told him very clearly...," he said.
"The fight has begun now.... The youth should be ready for the fight," he told the gathering.
Hazare also recalled the struggle in the run up to RTI Act being passed in Parliament
and said the legislation has now brought scams like 2G and Adarsh Housing to light.
"They have been brought to light because of the RTI Act. We fought for the RTI Act. I have fasted on many occasions
for many causes," he said.
Hazare said there was no "dark
spot" in his life otherwise his opponents would have "broken my life."
Lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the Prime Minister should be brought under the ambit of the Lokpal.
"The government says if the Prime Minister is investigated
for corruption charges, the government will be shaken. But if the Prime Minister is corrupt and no investigation is done,
this will be a great danger to the country's security," he said.
Bhushan also said the Team Anna was ready to talk to the Government, but would not compromise on its core issues.
"We are ready to talk if they are ready. Our Jan Lokpal Bill has been amended 13 times. All suggestions have been included,"
He said that the government can incorporate main points
of the Jan Lokpal in its Bill and if they suggest any better system "we are ready to discuss that also."
Bhushan also demanded that the government bring a strong Judicial Accountability
Bill along with the Lokpal Bill.
The Hazare movement is getting
stronger day by day and there has been some behind the scenes development to reach some kind of compromise. However, even
with the firm message by Anna about "Pass the Bill or go" the government is at a loss to do anything fruitful -
or harsh and make things worse. That's why there is a talk of some kind of overture from the government with backstage "mediators"
working on both the sides. The next couple days might throw up something to "just work on."