At the ripe age of 79, social activist Anna Hazare shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to his fight against corruption. His fast at the Ramlila grounds demanding the Lokpal Bill a couple of years ago had drawn a large gathering of supporters. But even after introduction of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013), there seems to be no progress on the issue of implementing it. India is still waiting for its first Lokpal.
India has been plagued recently by scams like the “Vyapam Scam” in Madhya Pradesh. This involved politicians, and other officials allegedly accepting bribes by undeserving candidates to get good grades in entrance examinations. There were also unexplained mysterious deaths of people said to be involved in the scam.
Anna Hazare, who has been a rights activist for well over a decade says that the immediate appointment of a Lokpal is the urgent need of the hour. He says that people from all over the country have been contacting him regarding this issue. To punish top bureaucrats and officials seemingly untouchable by the courts, Anna Hazare believes the implementation of this Bill is imperative. To bring urgent attention to the issue, he has planned to hold a satyagraha against the Modi government.
JULY SCHEDULE FOR THE SATYAGRAHA
Anna Hazare’s planned satyagraha is expected to go on the floor sometime in July. But prior to this, he plans to visit farmers in Andhra Pradesh. He intends to show his solidarity with them on the issue of their lands being taken over by the present establishment to develop the new capital of the state (Amravati).
His compatriots in the 2011 protests, Gen. VK Singh and Kiran Bedi seem to have moved on and have accepted top posts in the current government. While Arvind Kejriwal, who was also closely associated with Anna Hazare at the time has formed the Aam Aadmi Party. Kejriwal has managed to pass the Lokpal Law in delhi last year. But his administration has come under heavy criticism with many alleging that there have been no consultations and the provisions made are not up to the mark.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party won the elections to form the current government based on promises of a corruption-free India. The assurances of growth that were given by them during the elections were what got the party noticed. As the opposition party previously, BJP demanded a strong Lokpal. Now that they are in power, priorities seem to have changed. Today they are being accused of delaying the implementation of the Bill.
Common Cause, an NGO has filed a PIL against the Modi government, alleging procrastination by them in implementing the Lokpal Bill. This has prompted the Supreme Court of India to question them on the delay in appointing a Lokpal. It seeks an answer from them by July 19 on the issue. In response, Modi has claimed that those unhappy with this government are the ones who have looted the country. The BJP seems to be undeterred and there is still no clear communication from them on the issue.