One of the key factors in Chandni Chowk's overwhelming support for Anna Hazare's team in its referendum on the lokpal bill appears to be the way options were framed for people to respond.
A close look at the forms distributed in nearly four lakh households in Chandni Chowk — Kapil Sibal's constituency — show that the government version has been interpreted according to convenience.
On the question about who should investigate charges of corruption against the prime minister, there appears to be a difference between the actual position of the government and the way it has been projected.Stating the government's position, the referendum form says: "CBI should investigate corruption charges against the prime minister. Lokpal should not be allowed to investigate it. The PM won't be able to function if flood of frivolous complaints are received against him."
This, however, differs from the government's draft Lokpal bill approved by the cabinet last week. Chapter VI of the bill, which deals with Lokpal jurisdiction in respect of inquiry, states that a probe can be initiated against the prime minister once he demits office.
Section 17 of the bill states: "The Lokpal shall inquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with any allegation of corruption made in a complaint in respect of a prime minister, after he has demitted the office and any other person, who is or has been a minister of the union."
On the issue of Lokpal's jurisdiction on central government officials, the form portrays the government position as "allowing the Lokpal to have jurisdiction only on Group A (those directly recruited to gazetted posts) officers".
The government bill, however, includes Group A officers, senior officials of public sector undertakings, and "any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or other officer of any society, trust or association which is even partly funded by the government."