Date : 25.06.2013
Sri Anna Hazare,
Ralegaon Siddhi P.O.,
Dear Respected Anna Hazareji,
Sub: Your letter to the Prime Minister
I saw your letter to the Prime Minister threatening another fast if the government doesn’t pass the Lokpal Bill. Why this government, even other governments haven’t put the Lokpal bill on their agendas!
Popular movements in Egypt, Turkey and Brazil
This is a subject on which we have to deliberate once again to find effective alternative ways. There are alternative ways. This is my firm belief. We have to see other countries in this regard. Both the developed and developing countries, like USA and China. There have been popular movements in recent years, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil and we can learn lessons for our use here. Knowing your great sacrifices to the cause of India, I like to take this opportunity of paying my respects and want to join you in the noble cause. The whole country wants you to succeed in your mission.
I am a Congressman from 1962 onwards; I grew up under the shadow of Pandit Nehru and Kamaraj. I was also an MLC in Madras from 1968-74 for a term. I wanted to come and see you for a long time. But time and other constraints have come in the way.
However, I met not long ago, the hon’ble Sri Justice Santosh Hegde in Bangalore and we had a long discussion. We felt the need for constant action on the part of the movement for anti-corruption action. Somehow, there is a slowdown lately. What next is our agenda? I suggested to Sri Hegde that the Anna movement for the Lokpal Bill can do many things, with not much effort or money.
Here are my suggestions:
My plea is that you needn’t threaten another infinite fast. Your earlier fast had done enough to rouse the public conscience. There is now an awakened public opinion and public perception as to what to do in a democracy. After all, there is democracy in the country in the post-Independent India, for 66 years. The outside world, in a way, admires Indian democracy.
Election process can be strengthened
Our people only need guidance as to how to vote for the good candidates and how to defeat the corrupt elements, be it candidates or parties. In my opinion, there are many alternative ways. There are enough intellectuals, why, even election experts and we can sit together and devise more efficient ways in which our aims and goals can be met.
You please reconstitute the Anna Hazare Action Committee with some independent-minded intellectuals, experts and active public figures (I can also help to identify some names) who should be drawn from all the states and with each state must have a core committee you can name and announce.
The anti-corruption movement you had initiated drew heavy support for the simple reason it was a noble cause that the entire country sympathised with and as such we have to expand and give directions to people at large and in particular to activists of all sorts committed to banish corruption in our public life. The youth and the middle classes are now sensitivised. This is so in India and also in other countries. Even USA and China are afraid. Why I write this letter is also because of the fact that all over the world in almost all developing countries and why even in the USA, there are popular agitations (as in the Wall Street crisis) for urging the elected government to take urgent actions. the latest of countries, from Egypt to Turkey and Brazil you see the youngsters using the Internet, the Face books and Twitter and other latest tools they are able to mobilise the people on a vast scale without physically going out and mobilising people. There are now new IT tools, Facebook etc., and also causes for people gathering and agitation in democracies as well.
In India, this cause, the cause for fighting corruption that now rules our democratic governance in a very serious manner; we need more such direct actions. Your goodself has emerged as a symbol of the new type of direct action in a Constitutional democracy. This is a type of new Gandhism and we can really feel proud of what we have done so far. Now, my suggestion is that Anna Team must have some people who can be drawn from known parties and even other established NGOs. There are such bodies like Election Watch and Democratic Reforms etc.
Elections in a democracy are the critical moments. So, we can prepare the citizens and with the information at the command of the Election Watch and other bodies we can easily find out the details of the backgrounds of the candidates (both state assemblies and Lok Sabha) and Anna Team must issue a list of the names that form the data with the movement we can recommend voters to vote for the relatively clean candidates.
Candidates to Lok Sabha and even Rajya Sabha must have sound credentials. Candidates must have reasonable qualifications so that we can be sure of their capacity to perform. Of course, character, no corruption or criminal charges are the first criteria!
Anna Team and the affiliates, we need as many people as they are willing and available for free/part-time service, so that Anna can release a list of the candidates for whom the voters can vote.
We can enlist some of the distinguished ex-MPs, ex-MLAs, Gandhians, even others who would help us to vote for the best possible candidates. The Anna Team must be able to release periodic press releases and give direction to the various movements towards creating a parallel citizens’ movement to keep alive the active interest in the election process.
Please let me know when you will be in the South, in Bangalore so that I want to meet and discuss the details of my suggestions.
With warm regards,
CC : Justice Sri Santosh Hegde, Bangalore