When people feel completely alienated from an institution that is supposed to legislate laws to look after their interest, it implies that the institution has been hijacked and is being manipulated to serve the interest of the few.
We have seen this manipulation when it comes to hiking the salaries of the parliamentarians. We have seen it in force when it comes to framing dubious laws (like IMDT act). We have seen it when it comes to framing the laws to nail the high and the mighty in worlds’ largest democracy.
The very fact that the every single year even as allocation keeps increasing, the standard of life of the poorest of the poor remains the same, rather becomes worse suggest that there is a fundamental need to change the way things are being run by an oligarchy of vested interests.
For the government to say that elected members of Parliament alone have the power to legislate and that too with impunity amounts to dishonouring the very idea of democracy. That we have adopted a Parliamentary democracy doesn’t mean that we have given up all the claims to have this country run the way we want. Again, to claim that we have the option to vote out if the elected representatives do not work properly and hence demanding civil society’s role in drafting a committee will set a bad precedent is symbolic of the deep sense of insecurity and lack of confidence on the part of government. /p>
First, had the government been able to make the people believe that it’s working for them; a Gandhian like Anna Hazare wouldn’t have needed to sit on hunger strike 64 years after independence. Second, if the government is sincere about having a corruption free polity, why a man of ‘impeccable integrity’ like Manmohan Singh let scams after scams happen right under his nose. Third, now that the people are demanding a law that will take the most powerful of the politicians to task, why the government is dilly dallying?
Because only 50 per cent people vote in most elections in India doesn’t imply that the rest are not concerned about democracy. From migration to documentation to apathy, there are many reasons why people are not able to vote. There are many ways in which elections, even when they are claimed to be free and fair, are being manipulated. Beginning from caste politics, politicians use all sorts of trick using money and power to divide the people, force the right thinking individual to remain away from the system and have their unhindered rule.
Also, the fact that people are not always able to give a consistent result in terms of electing good representatives doesn’t mean that they want corrupt leaders. Most of the time corrupt leaders are elected due to a host of factors, which do not become insignificant because our election commission believes that one month of peaceful elections is all that a free and fair election means.
Agreed, people have the option to vote out after five years but at any point of time, the onus for the failure of rule of law and rampant corruption squarely goes on the politicians. Agreed, people should let legislature work unhindered. But what do you do, when one after another scams keep happening, and the PM says that he didn’t know about it. What do you do when one effective law take 42 years to see the light of the day? What do you do when corruption becomes a norm rather than exception?
This is not the constitution, envisioned by our forefathers. It’s the failure of the parliament to respond to the needs of the people. The politicians backed by corruption money believe that they can purchase anybody.
In a democracy every citizen has the right to participate in the process of framing a law. So to claim that people’s participation would set a wrong precedent is itself undemocratic. As Arvind Kejriwal said in a India at 9 on CNN IBN7 yesterday, the people of this country have the right to dictate the parliament and the elected representatives. It’s the responsibility of the Parliament and the elected representatives to fill the gap in trust among the people and the policy makers.
The ever increasing numbers of support for Anna Hazare across the country suggest that the government must work differently by making decision making process more transparent and inclusive in this country.