Text of lecture delivered at the National Seminar on “Reforming Indian Democracy” organised by the Political Science Department, Sambalpur University, Odisha on 27th February 2012
I thought this was an important speech by a left member of the Rajya Sabha in response to the prime minister's speech on the Anna Hazare led agitation and the government's response initially. Reproducing this directly.
The hunger strike launched by Anna Hazare in Delhi has led to an outpouring of support from all over the country. The agitation for a Jan Lokpal Bill has found support predominantly from the urban middle classes and a substantial section of youth belonging to this strata. There is no doubt that since the first hunger strike launched by Anna Hazare in April, the anti-corruption movement has gained momentum.
When the Anna Hazare story started – back in April, when Anna and his four emerged out of the woodworks with the tall promise of ridding India of corruption – many of us were skeptical of his “movement”. Despite our reservations, legitimate and relevant as they are, the fact is that his campaign managed to tap into a perceptible mass anger against the corrupt practices and malfeasance of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. [Image courtesy, The Hindu]
The all too shrill 'civil society' discourse on corruption, led by Anna Hazare's team, has rekindled public debate on the need for a Lokpal. In the document below, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) takes this debate further by offering a more nuanced understanding on the role of a Lokpal, and recommending simultaneous reforms in the legal and administrative framework to tackle corruption effectively. (Image courtesy: Reuters)
On the 20nd of July, 2011, a seminar featuring senior representatives of left parties and the civil society elaborated on length on aspects of corruption and corporate loot that have generally been given less prominence of coverage in media and public debate. The insightful public talk was organised by Anveshan, Centre for Policy Analysis and the Delhi Science Forum. The video recording of the talk is hosted here in the form of a playlist.
A fresh drama unfolds almost every day on the issue of corruption; from the police lathi-charge on Baba Ramdev’s followers (a ‘faith’ based mobilisation on a political issue) at the Ramlila ground, to Ramdevs response with a threat to raise 11,000 strong armed “sena”, which he later characterised as a “nationalist force”.
Not too far behind is Anna Hazare, whose team boycotted the Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) meeting on the Lokpal Bill alleging that the government is not serious about drafting the Bill, and proceeded to hold a day-long fast in protest of the police action.