Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

People, Fasting and Parliament

The fast by activists led by Anna Hazare has elicited different responses from different people. While there is agreement on the need to fight corruption, some have criticized the method.

Their objections are as below:

1) In a parliamentary democracy parliament is supreme. Parliament can not be pressurized by fasting.

2) Self-appointed people can not make law. It is for elected representatives to make law.

3) The agitators have contempt for politics and democracy.

4) The agitation amounts to blackmail.

5) The agitation is fascist.

Let us examine the objections.

1) People are supreme in a democracy. Parliament represents people. MPs are elected to do the will of the people and not as they want. Fasting is a legitimate way to put pressure on parliament. MPs forget they are representatives of people and not lords and masters. The constitution begins with the words “We the people”.

2) Where were these people when NAC which functions as a super cabinet with Sonia Gandhi as super prime minister was formed? NAC has vetoed many draft bills prepared by cabinet committees. Many bills have been drafted by Non-MPs and some have become law. Indira Jaisingh had drafted one bill that became law. She was not an MP then, not an MP now.

3) If there is contempt for politics and democracy it is due to politicians. Winter session of parliament did not function on the demand of JPC. The government did not yield then. It yielded when budget session began. MPs disrupting parliament is not a pretty sight. MPs increasing and multiplying their salaries, allowances and privileges as they like and neglecting their duties does not inspire confidence. Where is democracy when a candidate who has lost Lok Sabha election becomes prime minister or home minister?

4) Since when fasting has become blackmail? Did Gandhi resort to blackmail when he fasted?

5) There is nothing fascist about the agitation. The activists are not stopping traffic, forcing shutdown of offices, schools, colleges and shops, uprooting railway tracks, setting fire to public and private property or engaged in stone pelting. When Jats, Gujjars and others resort to such methods no one calls them fascist. Calling a non-violent and peaceful agitation fascist is a poor joke.

There are some who say NGOs are corrupt. In that case it is for them the expose corruption by NGOs.

The government is not ready to issue a notification. The dispute about the chairman of drafting committee is not settled. Anna Hazare has called for people to fill jails on 12/4/2011.

The excuse that ministers are busy with elections and not free to do anything about Lokpal Bill till they are over is not acceptable. There are no Lok Sabha elections and central ministers are not required to participate in state and union territory elections.

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