Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom across India

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: The fast-unto-death by the social activist Anna Hazare in New Delhi and the nationwide support it has elicited for cleansing the system, has enormous relevance to Karnataka especially in the present context, where the air is thick corruption.

One thing is clear. Politicians, cutting across party lines, are opposed to any measure to rein in corruption in public life. They have successfully evolved ways and means to torpedo any such attempts, or to emasculate the system which is put into operation, to ensure a free run for themselves.

While New Delhi has a history of dragging its feet on the Lokpal bill in general and on the question of bringing the Prime Minister under its purview in particular, Bangalore has a track record of dragging its feet on the question of strengthening the hands of Lok Ayukta with suo motu powers to investigate charges of corruption.

***

The common thread that runs in the attitudes of the central and State governments towards corruption, is the marked reluctance on the part of the the political parties, be it of Congress or non-Congress hues, including the BJP, to hold the bull by horns.

The intention is very clear: they don’t want to create any fetters which come in the way of their untrammelled enjoyment of power.

At the Centre, the main question which has been endlessly debated is whether the PM should be brought under the purview of the Lokpal bill, in whatever form it may be brought in.

The solution was/is simple: Had those who held the high august office voluntarily declared that they would subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the Lokpal, the matter could have been resolved in a jiffy and a suitable law could have found a place in the statute books.

But none of the worthies, from Indira Gandhi to Manmohan Singh, and including Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Deve Gowda, and Chandrasekhar, could volunteer to suggest that persons holding high office should not only be honest but appear to be honest too.

For all of them, the authority and status of the PM’s office appeared more important than the need for probity in public life. It is the cumulative mess created by the Cassandras of corruption, which has resulted in the 2G spectrum scam, which has made the current Prime Minister squirm in his seat.

Manmohan Singh’s image as a clean and honest politician has taken a severe beating. He has paid a big price for his  vacillation.

If the prime minister of the country is unwilling to lead from the front in the fight against the corruption, how do you expect the lower minions in the political hierarchy like the chief ministers and the State governments down the line to act otherwise?

If  the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, could be investigated for the Watergate scandal, or the high and mighty be proceeded against for tax evasion in America, it does not stand to reason as to why the busy  bodies in India tht is Bharat should be placed above the law.

***

In Karnataka, there is a twist in the tale.

Since 1984, there has been a law and an institution to fight corruption. But it has been deliberately made ineffective. The Lok Ayukta has not been given suo motu powers to initiate action.  Such powers given when the Act was enacted by the Ramakrishna Hegde government, were subsequently withdrawn two years later for reasons not clear.

The Lok Ayukta, as an institution, was almost unknown (and unseen) for nearly one-and-a-half decades after its inception. The first time it caught the public imagination was when Justice N. Venkatachala, who was appointed during the S.M. Krishna regime in 2001,  became proactive in the discharge of his duties.

It was Justice Venkatachala who focussed attention on the lacunae in the law and took them up with the government. For all the sound and fury, his five-year term ended without his dream of the grant of suo motu powers being realised.

His successor, Justice N. Santosh Hegde, too has vigorously pursued the pending issue with the government, even going so far as to submit his resignation in the period. His five-year tenure is coming to an end in a couple of months and like his predecessor he has to retire with a feeling that the government ignored his plea.

None of the governments that have held office during the period of the present and previous Lok Ayukta have been able to restore the suo motu powers to the Lok Ayukta, which is a felt need.

And these include, the Congress government led by Krishna, the Congress-JDS coalitions headed by Dharam Singh, the  BJP-JDS coalition headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy and the present BJP government headed by B.S. Yediyurappa, which has been in office from 2008.

The message is quite clear: none of them is keen on doing it despite the public protestation of their commitment to fight corruption.

The Upa Lok Ayukta enjoys suo motu powers, which can be exercised over the lower echelons of the administration. The other higher-ups do not come under its purview. More often than not, the post is kept vacant.

When Venkatachala, started exercising the powers of the Upa Lok Ayukta in his crusade against corruption, the government woke up after a long gap to and felt the need to fill the vacancy. This was done more with the intention of reining in Justice Venkatachala than to strengthen the functioning.

But much to the chagrin of those who had planned the move, the new Upa Lok Ayukta Justice Patri Basangowda proved to be a good foil rather than hindrance to Justice Venkatachala. After Mr Patri Basangowda retired the post in 2009,   the post has remained vacant.

The absence of suo motu powers has not been the only problem faced by the Lok Ayuktas in Karnataka, who have taken their job seriously. The government of the day has been blutning the efficacy of the institution and efforts put in by it, to trap cases possession of assets disproportionate to the known source of income.

In some cases, the officers trapped remain without being suspended and some of them have been quite powerful enough to wangle promotions and get good posting too. The government deliberately delays the question of granting permission for the Lok Ayukta to prosecute officers who have been nabbed.

The list of the governments acts of sins of omission and commission is quite lengthy.

***

A major development, which has occurred during the BJP government. stressing the imperative necessity of strengthening the Lok Ayukta, has been the surge of the scams.

The most important one has been the one pertaining to the illegal mining of iron ore, involving powerful politicians, in and out of office. The report given by the Lok Ayukta, which probed the matter, has been gathering dust.  The report has been relied upon by the Supreme Court but has not opened the eyes of the State government.

The inference is quite clear. But for the Supreme Court’s persistence in a case before it at present, the controversy over the illegal mining in Karnataka would have been pushed under the rug.

The second development is the scam over the denotification of the land, which during recent years has been openly regarded as a money spinner for politicians in power.

Going by the open charges being hurled it looks as if this has taken place one way or the either during the regime of almost all the CMs especially in the last one-and-a-half decades. A powerful minister of the BJP government has also been caught in the act. And chief minister Yediyurappa and his bete noire Kumaraswamy have been openly trading charges against each other.

Had a person like Anna Hazare been here, perhaps Karnataka would have witnessed the kind of  uproar that one is witnessing in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Cartoon: courtesy Keshav/ The Hindu

Also read: ‘BJP’s lotus grows in muck, so do BJP’s people’

CHURUMURI POLL: India’s most corrupt State?

Why has corruption become such a small issue?

GOOD NEWS: Karnataka beats AP, TN, Kerala

How China changed the politics of Karnataka

CHURUMURI POLL: Karnataka, Bihar of the South?

 

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26 Responses to “Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom across India”

  1. the colonel Says:

    i have been waiting :- churumuri

    please go to: -

    http://goodnewsindia.com/index.php/Magazine/story/anna-hazare-ralegan

    i am ready for the jail bharo

    enough is enough

    if we can unite for the world cup, we can unite for this

    ***

    and bsy has announced his support for him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ***

    and what takes govts, in the states and the centre so long as forty years.

    is the AIM foremost: No

    The procedures are SACROSANT and not the AIM.

    I met some local tradesmen today, they are FLYING to delhi

    ***

    busloads of schoolchildren have joined in.

    The OLD have joined in.

    reach home at 2000h. join in somewhere for 20 mins.

    PLEASE JOIN IN

    ***

    want to sign in

    goto

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_anna_hazare/?g-bpi-s-hazare

    ***

  2. vishnu Says:

    “Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom across India” Let someone do it”, “let more people join”, “let govt. do something”, “let young people do it”, “let OTHERS do it” – Present indian mind set.

    When will we reach the below era
    “Lets go and join” “Let us become another Anna Hazare”

  3. the colonel Says:

    28 years for the world cup

    40 years for this

    ***

    Anna Hazare

    Anna Hazare is one of India’s most noted social activists. A former army jeep driver and Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, Anna is well known and respected as the man who turned the ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi around. The village has become a model of rural development through the implementation of government schemes designed for the upliftment of the rural poor. His name is synonymous with rural development and people’s power.

    Hazare hit the headlines in May 1994 when he undertook a protest fast at the Sant Dyaneshwar temple at Alandi, Maharashtra. Earlier, the same month, he launched the Bhrastachar Virodhi Janandolan (People’s movement against corruption), after having returned his Padmashree in April.

    In 1998, he was hauled to court on a defamation suit filed by then Maharashtra social welfare minister Babanrao Golap. After a few days in jail, he was released following a public uproar.
    He is a staunch Gandhian.

    His watershed management style is as follows:

    Conservation of water
    Voluntary spirit
    Self-reliance
    Education
    Social upliftment
    Women’s emancipation
    Participation of youth
    Consensual politics
    Prohibition
    Family planning
    Ban on felling of trees
    Ban on open grazing

    ***

    Further for the EC, PM, all CMs a suggestion:

    With the availability of Unique Id Nos with each mob and the vetting done:-

    All questions can be answered in an a,b,c,d format

    Let the pm no be: 9999

    let the cms have other no’s

    the results will be automated

    i dont have to be tird down to one geog location

  4. ERR Says:

    Lokayuktha Santosh Hegde and his team have raided many Karnataka Government staff owning property worth crores of rupees not in commensurate with their lifetime salary.Despite Publishing evidence in Newspapers the Government has not given permission to Lok pal to file a criminal case against them over the last few years .What is worse, most of them have come back to make more ill-gotten money!Naturally there is bureaucrat -politician nexus here.
    Mr. Hegde should publish a ‘Rogues’ Gallery’ of such people with their pictures who should be shunned by public and made social ‘pariahs’…

  5. mounaprasad Says:

    Colonel,

    To cap it all Rajmata Tyaagmurthi has thrown her weight behind Anna…there cannot be bigger joke than this…she is supporting agitation against her own government she heads by proxy…LOL

    I think this whole nautanki is a inside job by Rajmata and the retard to score brownie points over the door mat prime minister.

    ***

    To cap it all Rajmata Tyaagmurthi has thrown her weight behind Anna…there cannot be bigger joke than this…she is supporting agitation against her own government she heads by proxy…LOL

    I think this whole nautanki is a inside job by Rajmata and the retard to score brownie points over the door mat prime minister.

    Wake up guys..this too shall pass :) In the meanwhile enjoy the nautanki what with all the bolly(H)wood backing it…we can have dance by bipasha choreographed by Farah khan…

    Read Sandhya Jain’s perspective (http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1716) and Rajinder Puri’s take on this (http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=10808)

  6. Srivatsan Says:

    Given that its very unlikely that the corrupt politicians will ever be brought to justice for their egregious crimes, can we at least make a provision for the Janpal bill to be effective only from the day of the passing of the bill (we then might have a few supporters among the politicians)? I know this is not sound philosophically but its seems very expedient.

  7. maisuru Says:

    @After Mr Patri Basangowda retired the post in 2009, the post has remained vacant.

    Justice Shashidhar Bheemrao Majage was sworn in as Upa-Lokayukta in july 2010.

  8. Goldstar Says:

    @mounaprasad,
    >>I think this whole nautanki is a inside job by Rajmata and the retard to score brownie points over the door mat prime minister.

    “Like” the cynic in you :-) !! This line is hilarious… Poor MMS !! “Simple” people will so very impressed by Rajmata. Look out for sychophantic posts when (if) the bill becomes reality.

  9. Mathihalli Madan Mohan Says:

    I stand corrected on the issue of Mr Majage succeeding Mr Patri Basanagouda as the Upa Lokayukta.
    My profound apologies for the inadvertent slip up

  10. Kitapati Says:

    The TV channels have been shouting that victory has been achevied. But this whole drama has given me some small personal victory. On thursday night I bet Rs 10K with my friend that Anna Hazare will end the fast as soon as the IPL starts and just now my friend promptly gave me the 10K. We are going to celebrate tonight. This wholde drama was started after the world cup and lasted till IPL start. It was pretty clear that IPL would take precedence over Anna.
    BTW, a few minutes ago Anna Hazare and his followers ended their so called fast with lime juice or rather Nimbooz (http://pepsicoindia.co.in/Brands/Beverage/Nimbooz.aspx). Kiran Bedi is also seen on TV giving Nimbooz to the troupe. It is time pepsi now start claiming their role in this great revolution along with social media sites of course.
    Long live the revolution.

  11. the colonel Says:

    Now at Freedom Park.

    lets go to bsy now

    lets see

  12. Doddi Buddi Says:

    I have ordered a huge gunny bag of salt and I am watching this freak show:) Somehow I am not convinced about this Anna H. Last heard even Devegowda was fasting in support:) LOL

  13. Narayana Says:

    More laws that needed to be passed Anna style.

    1) Introduce “Five Year” term for PM
    2) Introduce mandatory elections for party president post.
    3) Introduce electronic payment reporting for any amount above Rs. 5000 and introduce an automated system to track and tabulate those payments.
    4) Introduce right to justice. Anything like a misdemeanor to be decided within a year, felony within 2 years.
    5) Government servants caught stealing are summarily dismissed and onus on showing the innocence should be on the government servant
    6) Dissolve state governments and devolve power to local bodies such as panchayat and municipalities.
    7) Dissolve police force and allow local bodies to have own law enforcement at local levels.( No transfers)
    8) Dissolve IAS.

  14. Dr Kiran Acharya Says:

    Plz come out of Mass Hysteria, read: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hysteria-will-not-end-corruption/774100/1

  15. Bruce Haddin Says:

    Sure, why not, dissolving the IAS and devolution of state power is always the answer. Of course that solves corruption as well.

  16. Debanish Says:

    If the Bill is passed, and Justice Hegde comes on board, I hope he creates the same magic in a national level the way he did in Karnataka. Despite lack of enough powers to grab, fry and burn corrupt babus, the K-brand Lokayukta is India’s best, according to what I have seen in different states. In Delhi, if you mentioned Lokayukta, people laugh at you. Don’t ever let the K-brand Lokayukta wither and die.

  17. Shetty Says:

    Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is having the last laugh saying that he fully supports Anna Hazare, while BJP national president and trader Gadkari says Yeddi is not corrupt at all and total corruption in Karnataka is only a perception!

  18. Sanjeeva Says:

    Best quote by Kumaraswamy – “Even Gandhi would have become corrupt in today’s condition”. But…….. I was never indulged in corruption. So he is more than Gandhiji. Devegowda supports Anna, BSY supports Anna… who else are left to support Anna – Perhaps, Raja, Kalmadi, Karuna ….. two IAS couple caught with 300 cr, Chairman, Medical Council etc…. What is going on in our country?

  19. mounaprasad Says:

    @Goldstar,

    Thanks for your kind words. So the latest breaking news ….the panel proposed by Anna has the usual gang of suspects as the members…but does not contain any body from the opposition. So this will piss off the opposition to no end and when the bill is presented in the parliament, the opposition, especially BJP will oppose it on some pretext or the other, there by giving an opportunity to KKaaangress to state that it is the opposition which is hindering the passing of the bill. So BJP as usual is running around in circles like a headless chicken. They presented a golden opportunity like fight against corruption to a dubios bunch of NGOs which they, as the opposition party should have spear headed, and now if and when the bill is presented for approval they will be made to look like jack asses again :) I am thoroughly enjoying this block buster drama

  20. Simple Says:

    Prashanth Bhushan on CNN IBN “Hazare’s comment on Modi is naive”.

  21. Dodd Buddi Says:

    The new Anna Tondulkar . Work this out please.

  22. Mysore Peshva Says:

    On a related note, P. Sainath wants to see more elected representatives in the Jan Lokpal Bill committee. See this recent interaction at UC-Berkeley:

  23. Sampangi Says:

    What Justice Santhosh Hegde is doing is great. But I sometimes wonder if he would have been what he is if his father was not a prominent politician and went on to become Supreme Court judge. Connection matters everywhere it seems.

  24. Mysore Peshva Says:

    By substituting personality for structure, has Anna Hazare’s movement done our democracy a disservice? Here is Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury’s excellent critique of the Jan Lokpal bill hysteria:

  25. Yaaralli Says:

    @Mysore peshva
    shoma sometimes speaks like congress agent and sometimes delivers words of wisdom by calling people not to fall into sentiments.

    Seeing tehelka over the years it has transformed from a raging bullet to a sticky wicket over the years just like Indian middle class and Manmohan singh – work very hard in beginning and then surrender to corruption.

    Whatever it is creating a online voting system and right to recall with secure govt unix servers and electronic at the doorstep voting machines for remote jungles and mountains for older generation would get things in place at first stage.

    Pulling central govt existence would however reduce cattle classers eating in 5 star hotels and abolishing central govt and making states as their own tax and law makers bringing back educated administrative Delhiites to their own states to rule would be second stage.

    smaller provinces and maintenance – a north india has jk, hp,haryana, punjab , uk, delhi , chandigarh and a 15000 crore metro. their safe haven of workers come from ganga plains. hence they have 5 states 1 NCR and 1 union territory for a sparsely populated lands. rail ministry and telecom ministry has never been given to karnataka anytime.
    recently PM says his job is completed if indo pak relations are improved which means nothing to south states.
    the south states being leading gdp contributors are paying taxes to setup punjab regiment everywhere in north and give out chunks to pak and china at times.
    this indifference to south states can be negated with bringing more educated local leaders specially in karnataka where the most educated is NRN than CNR Rao and Vishwa Kannada Sammelana will be conducted with a guest who speaks in Hindi!!! – while the majority of the whole province fighting with extinction of language doesnt understand hindi!!

    The shoma chaudhari above is much fearful as to lose this south contribution because once power is derailed from south it’s going to be cutting connection from most unassuming intellectuals of the nation. they think that there are only dumbsters like yeddy lying in south. most of north indians are even now not aware of existence of 6-7 different states in south.
    they just call it south!!!

  26. Shyam Says:

    true… not sure who said this, but it still rings true: I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.

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