By Yash Shukla
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who led the movement against corruption in 2011, has announced the restart of the anti-corruption movement. He has accused the Modi government of not delivering their electoral promise of bringing a strong Jan Lokpal bill even after three years into power. He also claimed that Modi has not replied to any of his letters demanding the appointment of the Lokpal.
Can Jan Lokpal debate overthrow another government?
In his opinion, the government does not have any intentions of appointing the Lokpal. Hazare has also asked Modi government to fulfil other promises it made during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections such as the implementation of the M. S. Swaminathan Commission report for farmers and to bring back the black money stashed abroad.
The anti-graft movement led by Hazare in 2011 was seen as one of the reasons for the defeat of the UPA government in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. PM Modi has never been in the good books of anti-graft crusaders and activists. The question is if the movement can unite voters against the government once again.
Lokpal delay and groundless excuses
In response to a case filed before the Apex Court, the central government, said that Lokpal has not been appointed because there is no leader of opposition. The LOP is one of the members of the selection committee for the Lokpal. However, opposition parties and critics consider this as an excuse, since this requirement can be easily amended. They also cite examples of the Aadhar Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill in support.
The petitioner, Prashant Bhushan had also requested the court to appoint the Lokpal itself or set a time frame for the government. However, the attorney general said that the court cannot and should not dictate to the government what to do and when to do. This was accepted by the Court.
The Modi government has also been accused of weakening the power of the Lokpal by the amendments it has made. For instance, the amendment made in 2014 exempted government officials from declaring the assets of their spouses and dependent children. Another amendment made it binding on the Lokpal to seek permission from the government before investigating and prosecuting its working and retired officials.
Anna vs Modi’s popularity with the masses
Anna Hazare and his anti-corruption movement were one of the major factors responsible for the defeat of the Congress party in 2014 elections. This was especially because at that time the government had been accused of several scams like the Commonwealth Games scam and the 2G scam.
The BJP is in no mood to let the movement ruin its prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, critics are divided on the movement’s potential and potency considering the clean record of the government. Moreover, people have much trust and faith in the Prime Minister. This may be gauged from the fact despite policies like demonetisation being criticised, people have supported the government’s policies. But blind trust and faith in leaders lead the nations to autocracy and dictatorship.
It would not be easy for Anna Hazare to lead this movement when Modi still resides in the heart of the masses. But certainly, these movements are vital for making this government accountable for its decisions and indecisions.
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