Some Congress members refer to the demands by Anna Hazare group about Lokpal Bill as tyranny of the unelected and unelectable. They are against fast as protest and call it blackmail. Congress has a history of tyranny of the unelected.
In 1939 Mohandas Gandhiâ€™s candidate Pattabhi Sitaramaiah lost and Subhash Chandra Bose won the election to become Congress President. Mohandas Gandhi said Pattabhi Sitaramaiahâ€™s defeat is my defeat. It became difficult for Subhash Chandra Bose to function as Congress President. He had to resign some months later.
In January 1948 India was fighting a war with Pakistan over Kashmir. India had stopped transfer of 55 crore rupees to Pakistan as that would have been used against India. Mohandas Gandhi went on fast against government decision and the government that had Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel agreed to Mohandas Gandhiâ€™s demand.
Singapore was once a backward country. It has made progress over the years and has controlled corruption and has low crime rate. India lags behind in many respects. When comparisons are made some say Singapore does not have free press, popular sovereignty and equal moral status of citizens.
How free is Indiaâ€™s press? Corporate houses control many news TV channels and newspapers. Journalists working for many others are influenced by lobbyists who work for various interests. Newspapers and channels that want ad revenue enter into agreements with corporate houses not to say or write anything against them. Columns of writers who write about misdeeds about corporate houses disappear.
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 â€œWe the peopleâ€.
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