Beyond anna vs the government

Lokpal: Facts & Arguments
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr
Rs 295  pp 134

Let's just say that P Venkateshwar Rao Jr knows his facts about the various Lokpal Bills swirling about in the nation's speech and argument bubbles these days. A journalist with DNA, he has lucidly presented the history, the debates and the tussles in what has actually been a long experiment in the non-making.

While we continue to follow the Anna Hazare-Government of India centre-court tennis match (with Aruna Roy and various media platforms making their forehands and backhands felt), Rao gives us an unbiased picture of this 42-year-old attempt to bring about an ombudsman with independent power to counter corruption.

Of special interest is the chapter 'Psycho-profile of the Joint Drafting Committee' where the author actually delves into the politics — essentially the battle of psychology and power — between the government and Hazare and his associates.

The functioning of lokayuktas — and existing mechanism — is helpful to give perspective to what an ombudsman’s role really can be on a national level. If you want to unlearn all that you're reading and watching about the Lokpal and wish to use your own head, this book is a must read.


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