Probable Lokpal Bill: Neither Anna’s nor govt’s version
By Arup Roychoudhury
The events that transpired since Anna Hazare first went on a fast in April, when the word “Lokpal” was embedded in the minds of people throughout India, seem to have given Hazare’s protest a very one-dimensional view — that of black versus white.
However, this is still being seen as essentially a political movement, with many angles and viewpoints to it. And, like many political movements, chances are it will probably end in a compromise rather than “victory” for either the ruling Congress coalition or Team Anna.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that he was willing to engage in open dialogue regarding the bill and that there was a “scope of give and take”.
With the government seen as willing to show a rather belated streak of flexibility, it shouldn’t be long before Hazare starts conceding some ground.
The Times of India reported that Hazare’s group has indicated it is ready to drop its insistence of including the higher judiciary within the ambit of the bill.
“The government is now trying to win over the civil society … There is bound to be some kind of a middle ground between the two parties,” said D.H. Pai Panandiker, president of the RPG Foundation, a private economic thinkthank.
“Some riders like exclusion of even the prime minister may be agreed to by Anna Hazare,” he added.
And perhaps that’s what India needs. Instead of two different groups essentially trying to force their viewpoints, it may be more constructive if they sit down and work on a bill acceptable to all members of civil society.
A bill which is neither Lokpal or Jan Lokpal but a combination of good provisions from both, while leaving out the loopholes.