We must believe the Government of India when it assures us — and not only Anna Hazare — that it plans to keep its promise of firming up a strong anti-corruption law in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. With the prime minister himself reiterating his seriousness in pursuing the matter in letters written to the now silent but never quiet social activist, it would be wise to ignore all the ambient sound made by various members of his party and government and latch on to what he has stated.
Going by the drama that has been unfolding since Mr Hazare’s agitation against the government’s procrastination to table a law with teeth to tackle statutory corruption, the issue of the Lokpal Bill itself has been subsumed by unfortunate and unnecessary digressions.
In this, both sides in the tussle have been at fault — Mr Hazare’s fellow campaigners by continuously mistaking the campaign to be a war of Little People standing up to Big Government, and the political establishment by fuming against the appearance of usurpers. If there is anything at stake, it is to take on systemic corruption and get rid of it.
Mr Hazare’s fasts have undoubtedly yielded results. These results should have come from the government side without prodding or blackmail, but the good cop-bad cop routine that continues to be played hasn’t helped the government to not be seen as the eternal, reluctant reactionary. On the part of Mr Hazare and his colleagues, their expansion of the core issue of tackling corruption — whether by campaigning against the Congress in Hisar or by spewing populist venom against politicians — has exposed their desire to play heroes rather than to see them pushing a job thro-ugh to its final stage.
Mr Hazare has now again threatened to go on a fast if the UPA doesn’t pass the Lokpal Bill of his choice during the coming winter session of Parliament. God knows Mr Hazare and his colleagues have the right to be sceptical, but by predicting governmental chicanery, they expose their inherent cynicism.
We must believe the Government of India because it has stated something in public. To muddy the waters even before it has a chance to keep or break its promise is churlish. Mr Hazare has done the right thing to state that he will not campaign against any political party, the Congress included. Now he has to ensure that his colleagues don’t shoot their mouths off, especially when their agenda, of late, seems to have gone all over place.