As the agitation of Anna Hazare and his supporters, sitting on fast unto death at Jantar Mantar, for Jan Lokpal Bill took a form of national movement and in turn the Central government was quick to accept all his demands in mere four days, it clearly reflects that people sitting in the power do not respect sentiments of aam adami until they are compelled to do so. When Anna Hazare was morally boosted and nation-wide supports for his demand were observed at large, the Centre bowed down instantly; otherwise the government, as everyone knows, does not pay attention to the agitation through which a genuine demand is made by an organization or a group. Should it be accepted that the ruling persons now understand only the language which was used by Anna and his supporters or they distance away from common people after getting power in their hands. Can such system be helpful for society that does not care for democracy?      

Had the Central government been sensitive to public feelings regarding corruption, Anna would not have decided to sit on fast unto death. Anna and his followers were determined to expose the shortcomings in the Lokpal Bill drafted by the government. He prepared Jan Lokpal Bill and faulted the government’s Bill, but the Centre did not show its earnestness in this regard. Before going to the agitation, Anna tried to have dialogue with the Central government, but it did not work out for a serious approach and finally he had to take resort to stir, which later became a history. India and the world eventually witnessed the solidarity of the civil society. The way Anna’s followers remained disciplined during the agitation, has set an example. It is worth mentioning that the Delhi Police has also lauded the supporters’ discipline and their calibrated move.

Following the footprints of Gandhi and moulding his life accordingly, Anna Hazare had also launched campaigns against corruption earlier. He had fought for Right to Information in Maharashtra for long and succeeded as well. The big example of his success against corruption relates to the agitation recently launched in Delhi, an epicentre of ruling. Padmabhushan Anna Hazare has made the government yield to the demands of common people. After the independence, first time a rule is going to be made where participation of people will be compulsory. The government which was not ready to draft Lokpal Bill with civil society was compelled to notify the formation of a committee to draft the Bill, including the participation of civil society, under public pressure. The government bent before Anna because National Advisory Council under the stewardship of Sonia Gandhi was constituted in the similar way. However, after the deal between the government and Anna, some quarter of people say that it is a wrong precedent and in future if such protests come, it will be difficult to pacify them. This is true to some extent, but it cannot be denied that the agreement between Anna and the government is the only outcome of unusual situation. Such situation was created because the government could not prove with its empty assurance in name of fighting corruption. Angered with this hollow assurance, people took to streets in support of Anna’s movement. People not only witnessed scams now and then but also observed how efforts were made to save the guilty. Had the government been committed to bridle corruption, it would not have come up with half-baked Lokpal Bill. Perhaps, this was the reason aam adami rushed to streets in support of Anna’s movement.

It is a good sign, the Congress-led government belatedly woke up and conciliated Anna Hazare. Had Sonia not given her consent, the government would have done nothing. It is beyond understanding that why not other people of the ruling party were as concerned with Anna’s movement as Sonia?

Undoubtedly, Anna’s movement on one hand galvanized the whole world, on the other it rocked the ruling system as well, but the fight against corruption still remains. First of all, it needs to see how long will Lokpal Bill take to translate into a rule and how much will it be effective? It is difficult to agree with all points of Jan Lokpal Bill made against the weak Lokpal Bill which was drafted by the government. This Jan Lokpall Bill appears to be more powerful. The much empowered Lokpal could be another centre of power. Its power could be misused because the Lokpal Bill, according to the draft, will have its own police who could register FIR. In such circumstances, there could be a misuse of Lokpal in implicating or maligning anyone or hindering development work.

According to Lokpal Bill, the Prime Minister will also come under its gamut. This is a complex issue, which requires all sensibilities to sort it out because the Prime Minister does have many issues that are concerned with the country’s credibility and security. In whatever form the Lokpal Bill may come, the credit will go more to Anna than the government. He paved the way for an effective and capable Lokpal Bill. It should not be assumed that only Lokpal will rein in corruption. There is a need to do more in order to remove corruption. On one hand, there is a need to pay attention to electoral reforms, which was mentioned by Anna while calling off the agitation; on the other common people will have to be ready to adopt anti-corruption mindset in their lifestyle.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on April 10, 2010 translated by the English Editorial)