Did Anna achieve much? Do we really trust political class?

By Nirendra Dev

Nirendra Narayan DevEditor's Note: Nirendra Narayan Dev (nirendev1 [at] gmail [dot] com), an acclaimed political journalist, is a special correspondent of The Statesman, New Delhi and author of the books Ayodhya : Battle For Peace, The Talking Guns North East India and Godhra A Journey To Mayhem. Nirendra was born and brought up in India's northeast and his father served with paramilitary force Assam Rifles. His blog is at bestofindiarestofindia.blogspot.com.

We have previously had an opportunity of talking to the author and have posted the audio recording of the interview.

We have also previously published four short stories by Nirendra Dev: 'Patrons of a Letter Box', ‘The Pawns’, ‘Arms of Comfort’ and ‘The Guiding Sun, Soothing Moon’.

New Delhi, Aug 28, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) A visibly calm Anna Hazare though looked exhausted after 12-day-long fast today hailed Parliament’s nod on key elements of Jan Lokpal Bill as “people’s victory” and declared that poll reforms will be on top of his next agenda to fight corruption menace at its roots.

"I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved,” he said to a thunderous applause from thousands of his supporters waving tricolour.

But did he really achieve much. Given the nature of style of functioning and their unity of purpose for often selfish gains, political class can surprise everyone. Though to give the devil its due, as of now Anna's agitation has achieved something.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar rightly says that the agitation gas brought out the non-political class into the political realm. His party colleague Varun Gandhi said in Lok Sabha during the debate that the movement has proved to the youths mainly that they can be "catalyst of change".

These messages are vital although a few Congressman like Rashid Dalvi, someone who had initially alleged US conspiracy behind Anna movement, said he disapproved of Anna's methodology. Congress spokesman Mr Abhishek Singhvi said, “I believe that both have won and no one has lost. The great thing about this event is that it a win win for all sections". His party colleague Anil Shastri said Anna agitation never undermined supremacy of parliament.

In fact, this very debate was uncalled for. Because Anna himself and his team time and again demanded the parliament to enact a strong Lokpal law.

Of course, their insistence on their draft as seen by many was only a pressure tactic.

27 AUG: Ending days of suspence and bringing an end to hours of fierce negotiations between Team Anna and a beleaguered government, the Lok Sabha today adopted 'sense of the House' on three key issues raised by Anna Hazare on the much talked about Lokpal Bill and paved the way to end his 12-day long fast. As the Finance Minister and the Leader of the House Mr Pranab Mukherjee read out the last lines of a draft 'sense of the house' there were thumping of desks, which are being interpreted as unanimous or voice vote of the House.

The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who showed his rare statesmanship at the fag end of the crisis by his offer for parliamentary debate, has described the parliamentary nod as manifestation of people's will. "People's will is parliament's will," he said.

But the raging debate on whether 'the sense of the House (parliament)' was in any case a dilution to 'formal resolution' remains to be seen. Experts, however, say the nod is not a command for the parliamentary standing committee.

Asked if this was truly a victory of Team Anna as several of its demands like passing the Bill in this session, inclusion of higher judiciary and so on have not been met, BJP's Javadekar says that this agitation was about the larger issue of having a strong and effective Lokpal.

So BSP floor leader Dara Singh Chauhan has a point when he remarks, “It is for him (Anna) to answer what he achieved". The aging Gandhian is however, seemingly being smarter as of now as he knows the neta class by now pretty well and says, “I have only deferred my fast, not given it up." Back to the future!

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