Veteran social activist and anti-corruption champion, Anna Hazare has sent a scathing letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi questioning the delay in appointing a Lokpal even after three years in power and threatened another round of agitation in New Delhi.
A Lokpal is an ombudsman who has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament and central government employees in cases of corruption.
Hazare, in his letter, said that his protest would be directed at the Centre’s apathy to appoint a Lokpal, even after being in power for three years. Expressing his angst, Hazare pointed out that it has been six years since the massive demonstration against corruption in Delhi, yet nothing definitive has come up to combat corruption.
The letter demands that a Lokpal is appointed at the Centre, a Lokayukta in every state, and a Citizen’s Charter on ending corruption be adopted by the government.
The date and venue of his agitation in the national capital will be revealed in his next letter if the demands are not met by the government.
“For three years now, I kept reminding your government on the appointment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas as well as on the welfare of farmers, but you neither replied to my letters nor took any action,” he wrote.
Citing the Supreme Court judgement, Hazare demanded that political parties be brought under the scanner of the Right to Information Act.
Hazare may also demand the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, which talks of food security and farmers’ welfare. He opines that the government has not done enough for the ailing farmers of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra etc.
Anna’s Anti-Corruption Movement of 2011
In April 2011, Anna Hazare had begun his hunger strike at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to demand a strong Jan Lokpal Bill to combat the deep-seated corruption in the country. Arvind Kejriwal, Baba Ramdev, and Kiran Bedi were some of the high-profile members of Team Anna at that point of time.
The Lokpal bill, for the first time, was presented during the fourth Lok Sabha in 1968. Since then, there have been many instances where the bill was revived but never passed.
In 2013, the law to set up a Lokpal was passed in parliament after a massively popular campaign led by activist Anna Hazare that included Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan. It was enacted a year later.
However, the government kept delaying the appointment of a Lokpal on the contention that the Lok Sabha had no Leader of Opposition.
Some amendments were made to it viz. the one in 2016 which removed the requirement for public servants to reveal assets of their spouses and dependent children.
Again, a government proposal in the Prevention of Corruption Act, which requires the Lokpal to seek government sanction not only for prosecuting public servants but even retired civil servants would end up weakening the office of Lokpal.
The Logical Indian sincerely hopes that the government pays heed to the demands of the common man, looks into the matter and brings about hasty and efficient legislations to deal with the rising menace of corruption.