With 24 hours remaining for Anna Hazare to begin his fast against the government’s Lokpal bill, communications minister Kapil Sibal, the government’s fire fighter, spoke to Hindustan Times. Excerpts:
Why are you casting aspersions on Anna Hazare’s movement?
I believe that a set of people supported by the forces who want to destablise the government are behind the Anna movement. You cannot send bulk SMS without taking support of key and large players.
You can’t travel all over the country without the support of these players, especially when you say that you live in a temple and have no source of income.
What makes you say they are ‘destabilisers’?
It is obvious that Anna Hazare and his nominees are being backed both with financial resources and with human resources. They are also backed by event managers. The face of the movement is Anna but it is backed by professional destablisers. Problem is that they are seeking to destablise established procedures. While the objection of targeting corrupt people is laudable but methodology is suspect.
Who are these people?
It would not be proper for me to mention the destablising forces. However, there are enough indications. If a member of Anna’s team says the MCD, controlled by BJP, has given us permission to fast but the Delhi Police, controlled by the Congress, is not, this indicates who could be behind the Anna movement.
Do you mean it is the BJP?
I cannot take names now.
Beyond the backers, what is your objection to Anna’s proposals?
No private person has the constitutional right to say that we must disregard the established constitutional process to initiate and pass legislation and insist that unless the bill as drafted by a set of private people is accepted, they will resort to protest.
If this logic is accepted, it will have two serious consequences. One, in future any set of people will blackmail the government to accept what they say and not what Parliament says. Two, this amounts to suggesting that laws passed by Parliament do not represent the public interest.
How can politicians pass a strong bill against themselves?
Once a bill is introduced, it becomes the property of Parliament. The agitation of the nature that we are seeing outside the process will result in anarchy in law-making. We are elected to serve a constitutional procedure. We try to serve that purpose as MPs. If we do not serve that purpose there is a way to deal with that through electoral process.
So how will those voices be heard?
Anna and his nominees have right to go to the standing committee, which represents Parliament, not the government. Therefore, they should appeal to it and put forward their point of view.