Why is Government exasperated with campaign against corruption?

Manish Tiwari, Congress spokesperson, has said that democracy faces the greatest peril from the tyranny of unelected and unelectable. He said that the Centre was running out of patience with 'irrational expectations and attitudes.' Earlier Pranab Mukherjee had said that there is growing trend of undermining the democratic process and extra-constitutional authority might lead to complete collapse of democracy. Even though the government is jointly drafting the Lokpal bill with members of civil society yet it is clear that it is not very serious about it. Senior members of the ruling Congress Party are very bitter about the participation of the civil society in drafting the bill. What is the reason of their exasperation?

These leaders represent the elite ruling class of our country. The fact of the matter is that all mainstream political parties thrive on money from corruption. It would become impossible for them, if they abandoned corrupt practices that they adopt, to win elections. Manish Tiwari would become unelectable if he did not have the support of the corrupt apparatus of his party. It would be interesting to simply ask how many of the Congress party, or for that matter of any party, MPs have won their last elections by spending within the Rs. 25 lakhs limit set by Election Commission during campaigning. Congress party is known to give more money than this to its promising candidates. When the foundation is laid on corruption how do we expect the MP to remain honest once he is elected?

This government has been responsible for price rise and the Planning Commission has proposed an income of Rs.20 per person per day in urban areas and Rs.15 in rural areas as the cut-off for below poverty line (BPL). So, somebody earning Rs. 21 per day in a city and Rs. 16 in a village will not be considered poor. That is an example of one of the many 'irrational expectations and attitudes' of the government. Can anyone survive on Rs. 21 per day?

Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement has resonated with common people's sentiments, who are victims of this corrupt system. Right now people are supporting Anna Hazare over their politicians. In that sense,at least for the time being, Anna Hazare is a truer representative of the people, even though he may not be able to win an election like Manish Tiwari.

And sooner or later the question is going to be raised about the track record of our so called politicians. Who has a better track record of public service - Anna Hazare or Manish Tiwari? Even from this standpoint Anna Hazare is a better people's representative than Manish Tiwari. The practice of allowing novices, without having any experience of serving the people, merely because of their right connections or their money power to become politicians would have to be discontinued. The present Lok Sabha, with half its members super rich and with 162 members facing criminal charges cannot be considered as representing the people of India who are mostly poor and are victims of crimes committed by the powerful. The so-called elected representatives generally represent only 20-25% of the voters in their constituency, and therefore they are not even true representatives of their constituency as claimed by them.

The existence of the class of politicians making most noise against Anna Hazare's campaign is in danger if a strong Lokpal Act is brought into place. It is this fear that is finding expression in their aggressive stance. Aggression is an instrument of the fearful and the corrupt.

Dr Sandeep Pandey, SN Shukla, IC Dwivedi, Naveen Tiwari, SR Darapuri, Arundhati Dhuru, Devesh Patel, Chunnilal, Kiran Jaiswar, Bobby Ramakant

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