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The government is in a political coma

india Updated: Aug 22, 2011 23:21 IST
Interviews

A week after Anna Hazare began his second indefinite fast within five months, his team admits it did not expect such an overwhelming public response. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, a key member of the team in an interview to Hindustan Times, says the government is badly missing Sonia Gandhi and defends the movement, saying it is not communal and intolerant.

How will all this end. Finally you will have to decide where and when to stop?
It is very difficult to say. The government is in a political coma, unfortunately, after Mrs Sonia Gandhi left for the United States. There is nobody else who has the feet grounded towards reality to understand the sentiments of the people

With whom would you be willing to talk in the government?
Look the government is well within its right to appoint anyone to talk to us. It would be better if relatively cleaner individuals are nominated like AK Antony and Jairam Ramesh.

The Prime Minister has said the government has fulfilled its commitment by introducing the bill in the Monsoon which will be passed in the winter session. He has said it can’t be passed till August 30 given the stages of legislative process to be crossed?
That would have been alright had the government brought a strong Lokpal bill. What they have introduced is a thoroughly useless bill which I call the promotion of corruption bill. We are faced with a trust deficit.

Given this trust deficit, whose assurance would be sufficient for you? There are reports about Anna insisting on Rahul Gandhi’s assurance?
Faced with the past experience of four months, any assurance by itself would not be sufficient. Our trust deficit is not with the any individual, it is with the entire government. Therefore, they will first have to show how their assurance will be enforced.

A criticism by some of your friends of the civil society is that this is a movement guided by right wing elements?
It is true that some people feel this movement may be taken over by right wing saffron forces, but this fear is misplaced. Anna Hazare’s record has been secular.

A friendly criticism of your team’s approach has been that you are unwilling to listen to anything against your Jan Lokpal bill?
We are willing to accept any criticism and to any extent. However, we are entitled to project our views on the Lokpal bill.