Rahul proposal workable, but shouldn't delay bill
Social activist Anna Hazare's team on Wednesday supported Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's suggestion to give a constitutional status to the Lokpal with riders. Nagendar Sharma reports.delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2011 01:25 IST
Social activist Anna Hazare's team on Wednesday supported Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's suggestion to give a constitutional status to the Lokpal with riders. Magsaysay award winner, Arvind Kejriwal, a prominent member of Team Anna, said the strategy for the next phase of the agitation will be decided in the crore committee meeting to held at Hazare's native Ralegaon Siddhi on September 10-11. Excerpts from the interview:
How do you react to Rahul Gandhi's suggestion on giving Lokpal constitutional status?
We have no problem with it and we are okay with the idea, provided it does not lead to any delay in passing the bill, and the Lokpal Bill does not fall through in Parliament for want of numbers. Since such a status will require a constitutional amendment, for which two-thirds majority in both Houses will be needed.
Anna Hazare had been on a fast twice. How much success the team has achieved?
In the first round in April, we succeeded in getting the joint drafting committee for the Lokpal Bill formed. And in this round, the biggest achievement was that for the first time Parliament debated and passed a resolution being demanded by the public.
But the government did not concede to Hazare's demand of introducing the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament by August 16 and getting it passed by August 30?
So far as the Jan Lokpal Bill is concerned, we feel that 10% to 20% of our demands have been met. We need to intensify the agitation further. When we launched the movement our thinking was that the government will respond to public demand.
Why is there a perception that among Team Anna members, you are the most critical of the government?
I state facts and do not believe in criticism. Our experience shows that Hazare has been negotiating with a wall. We feel there is a wall between the government and people, which is why this government has shown complete insensitivity on the issue.
What is the reason for this mistrust between your team and the government?
There are many reasons. We were given commitments first and then the government retracted on those many times during the last four days of Hazare's fast. It was clear that the government was facing a leadership crisis, and the Congress was riddled with internal crisis as well. We didn't know who was in command.
Why did Hazare insist on the three sticking points (including lower bureaucracy, citizens charter in Lokpal Bill; setting up Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states)?
On the contrary, these were made sticking points by the government, which kept postponing the discussion on these issues since April till now.