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Why team Anna's movement should fail?
Harping on the very same populist opinion of 85% voters, who are in favor of Jan Lokpal in Kapil Sibal's own Chandani Chowk constituency, team Anna was arguing for adoption of their version.

I RESPECT the Parliament but I don’t believe in parliamentarians – Anna Hazare


If you want to see the paradox in the above statement and frailty of Team Anna’s ideas about good governance and democracy, you just need to listen to Prashant Bhushan’s interview to Zee News on August 17. He said on air, “We need to overhaul the entire loktantrik dancha (Fundamentals of the democratic process).  Jan Lokpal bill is just a beginning and we will work towards an ultimate goal of giving power back to the People. There will be internet kiosks installed in every village, city at every location and only people’s opinion will count and will become law. Villagers will vote for local issues and entire nation will vote for national issues on these kiosks. Days of voting for MPs for five years are gone.”

Just imagine if Team Anna has its way what will happen in the next ten years. Having populist laws and bills will create havoc. If majority of people decide that an attack on Pakistan is essential, that is what will be done. The Khap Panchayat with a majority will execute couples marrying outside their caste. Bhaiyya’s (North Indians) will be forcefully excavated out of Mumbai by indigenous Mumbai people. Yes, a few good things can also happen but I fret to imagine if populist opinion will be the decider and not the parliament. This does not happen anywhere in the world. Not even in America where the president is directly elected by the people. Instead of Democracy, this would be a populist autocracy. Imagine Indians across the world being asked to leave the country by a populist local opinion. It can’t get any scarier than this.

Harping on the very same populist opinion of 85% voters, who are in favor of Jan Lokpal in Kapil Sibal’s own Chandani Chowk constituency, team Anna was arguing for adoption of their version. That Corruption is rampant and one of the issues facing the nation is understandable. That Congress is responsible for most of it is also apparent, but changing the entire constitutional frame work for this would be like treating a patient with mucus in his feet by amputating them.

Driven by frenzy media, today, the agitators are in mass hysteria, unaware about major differences between Jan Lokpal and Lokpal. There is already a Lokpal bill tabled in the house and pending with Standing committee that has already incorporated few of team Anna’s suggestions. But media (with some exceptions) is simply pointing a gun at the Congress government and lending unconditional support to Team Anna - and on most occasions acting as their mouthpiece. I have yet to see a critical assessment by any news channel (barring CNN-IBN and Indian express) of the frivolous demands of team Anna of tabling their bill verbatim.

Initially indifferent and subsequently clueless handling by the government is mainly responsible for making a mountain of this mole. The least PM Manmohan Singh could have done is an address to the nation – where he would not be interrupted by opposition – tearing apart team Anna’s theory and the dangerous consequence of giving in to the demands made at gunpoint in the pretext of fast unto death.

If team Anna succeeds in making the UPA table Jan Lokpal bill written by five unelected people, and getting it passed somehow through coercive means, this will begin an era of blackmailing. Don’t be surprised if Ramdev baba does a fast-unto-death to amend the constitution for direct election of the prime minister. This will shake up regional parties and the federal structure of our democracy. Who knows few years later, Bhushans and Kejriwals will find new Annas with a visibly clean image to pursue their agenda.

A feeling is being created that Constitution has become irrelevant and has failed. Dr. Ambekdar had reminded during the constitution debate that a constitution is as good as the people at the helm of affairs. Bad people can ruin even the best constitution while team of good people can turn a bad constitution into best. If only one City traffic commissioner acts tough, at least 90% of all bribes taken by traffic cops can be stopped without any new law. But it is easy to blame the system than individuals.

In this critical juncture, one begins to wonder where the pro-democratic, pro-constitution people are. Why not protest the way in which Team Anna is holding the country at ransom that even America took notice of the “unrest in India”? Respected scribe and Indian Express Editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta ran a serious of articles on how the path taken by Anna and his ilk is unwise. But I do not see his paper running any campaign to make people aware of this. True, there are people who are upset and suffering from corruption and want a better governance but to assume that one law on its own with mere 5-6 different provisions will solve the issue (to 65% in Anna’s own language) is like living in fool’s paradise. The fancy romanticizing, candle light vigil, badge-wearing, and Gandhi cap-cladding people thronging for Anna have found a voice but it is not going to help them any more than giving them a feeling of satisfaction of being a self-proclaimed anti-corruption aam admi.

A Modi-praising, Soft-on-BJP team Anna rarely sounds apolitical – except Justice Santosh Hegde. I sincerely hope that majority of the Political parties and civil society unite and thwart this dangerous attempt by Anna Hazare and his team to demolish the fundamentals of our Constitution in the pretext of demolishing corruption.

 


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uttam
Dont agree with the article for the following reasons: 1. Seeking a referendum on an important bill is not the same as "giving into populist autocracy". Perhaps the author needs to realize that the very same exalted democratic values that is being espoused in the article can elect a pakistan bating, minority hating, extremists if they stand for elections. And they very well can. So, lets not take all credit away from the people - i thought that was fundamental to democracy. Quite a lot of statements have been taken out of context. The electoral reform mentioned by Bhushan and Kejriwal are - Right to reject(i.e. being able to go to a polling booth and say you reject all candidates), right to recall(being able to recall your elected candidate if the constituency is not happy with his/her performance) and educating people on the policies and stands of parties. 2. I am not sure if the author has been to any of the rallies..."Driven by frenzy media, today, the agitators are in mass hysteria, unaware about major differences between Jan Lokpal and Lokpal." is an unfortunate attempt at masking the truth. I have been to multiple protest marches and 80% of the people are very aware of the makor differences between the 2 bills. For anyone who is not, there is significant effort being made at the venues to educate them through speeches, pamphlets, etc. 3. The argument that tomorrow Baba Ramdev or any random person will do the same borders on ridiculous as people have been going on fast/protest for decades in this country and no one has paid too much attention because of the cause behind the protest. The fact that there is a significant mass movement behind this particular cause suggests that people have a definite opinion on what they want and are ready to stand behind it. 4. "If only one City traffic commissioner acts tough, at least 90% of all bribes taken by traffic cops can be stopped without any new law. But it is easy to blame the system than individuals." Is the author suggesting that we dont need laws? I wonder what the point of that statement is. No one if blaming the system. The whole point of this exercise is the put the right system in place. And I am not sure if people realize that a Lokpal is going to get created whether you like it or not. The question is whether you want and insipid one or a meaningful one.
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