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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

On recall option, CEC bats for politicians

Chief election commissioner SY Quraishi described electoral reforms issues - right to reject and right to recall - as "ticklish affair". He called for a national debate before a final decision is taken. Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday had declared that his next big campaign will be to seek right to recall of elected representatives and right to reject the listed candidates, while ending his 12-day fast on the Lokpal Bill.

"We have not thought about it seriously. It is going to be a ticklish affair," Quraishi told HT. But, in the same vein, he highlighted that electoral reforms were high on the government's agenda, and a blueprint has been prepared through seven nationwide consultations.

Former law minister Veerappa Moily visited election commission twice to discuss electoral reforms, and this is proof enough of the government's seriousness. Quraishi hoped that the Parliament now would consider these reforms as consultations have showed there is lot of interest in them.

But, rather than right to recall, the CEC said a better option was to create awareness among voters about franchise and ensure maximum voter turnout to get "best possible" candidates in legislative bodies.

"They (voters) should choose their representatives carefully so that there is no need for recall," he said.

The right to recall has not been on the commission's agenda as it has never been proposed seriously. Quraishi said that if the government accepts its proposal to debar criminals from contesting, then there will be no need for right to recall.

On the right to reject on which the commission has deliberated, he had some basic questions such as what will happen if majority of people reject all candidates? Will there be another poll? How many elections shall we have?.

"People in India already suffer from election fatigue because of so many elections," he said.

In India, there are different set of elections for panchayati raj bodies, legislative assemblies and Lok Sabha, to be held at least once in five years.

On Anna Hazare's campaign against corruption, Quraishi batted for the government, saying that Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Ground cannot be competitor against Parliament.

Irom Sharmila wants Anna, United Nations in Manipur

Human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila has again invited anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare to visit Manipur, which, she said, was "the most corruption-hit region in the world". "I've been inviting him to come," Sharmila said on Tuesday, after appearing at the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Imphal. "But I will not ask them to join the fast. Let it be up to their own conscience."

Sharmila has to be produced in court every 15 days ever since she was booked for attempt to commit suicide under IPC Section 309.

She has been on fast since 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which gives security personnel the power to arrest, search and shoot on mere suspicion.

Sharmila had invited Hazare to visit Manipur, when Team Anna invited her to join the anti-corruption rally in Ramlila Ground. Although she was unable to go, she supported Hazare's campaign.

Regarding her own battle, she said, "Even if they (the government) continues to ignore our plight, one day they'll realise there are more people like Anna in the country."

She also voiced the need for intervention from a global body like the United Nations.

Irom Singhajit, Sharmila's elder brother, who has been backing his sister's campaign and was present at the court, expressed dissatisfaction at the authorities' indifference about Sharmila's campaign.

"Anna fights for a corruption-free society while my sister struggles for the right to life," he said.

"But she does not have a political platform as she was born in a border state. This is racial discrimination."

'Jan Lokpal Bill is dangerous'

Writer Arundhati Roy on Tuesday cast doubts over Anna Hazare's anti-graft campaign saying the civil society's Jan Lokpal Bill is a "dangerous piece of legislation". "I am skeptical about the legislation (Jan Lokpal Bill) itself for a good number of reasons. I think the legislation is a dangerous piece of work," Roy told CNN-IBN in an interview.

Alleging that the civil society used public anger in their favour, the Booker Prize winner novelist said "You (civil society) used the real and legitimate anger of the people against corruption to push through this specific piece of legislation which is very regressive. It could have turned from something inclusive to destructive and dangerous."

Calling the Hazare-led movement a "copy book World Bank agenda", Roy said "It was an NGO-driven movement by Kiran Bedi, (Arvind) Kejriwal and (Manish) Sisodia.

"Three of them run NGOs and all the three core team members are Magsaysay Award winners... World Bank and Ford Foundation fund the anti-corruption campaigns. This is copy book World Bank agenda though they might have not meant it."

The writers said "Anna Hazare was picked up and propped up as the saint for the masses. He was not the brain behind the movement. We really need to be worry about it."

She also said the Hazare-led movement was not the same thing as a people's movement and accused the media of engineering it.

"Obviously people joined in but all of them were not middle class and many came for a sort of reality show well orchestrated by media campaigns," she said.

"For a nation of one billion people, the media did not find anything else to report. Certain major TV channels campaigned for said to be doing so. That's a kind of corruption for me at first place," she said.

"If it was only for TPR then why not to settle for pornography or something which gives more TRP?" she asked.

Anna recovering, Ramlila to follow suit

Thanks to anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, the venue where he sat on an indefinite hunger strike, is all set to be revamped.
The Ramlila Maidan, which is maintained by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), was in the limelight for the 11 days on which Hazare sat on his fast. The

civic agency has now chalked out an elaborate plan to revamp the 13.5 acre ground, which includes levelling the ground, provision of toilet blocks, improving the current podium, and carrying out
greenery work.
“The ground, which is home to several rallies and functions, will now undergo a complete ground levelling so that the area looks smooth,” said a senior MCD official.

The lack of necessities within the ground premises came to light during Hazare’s agitation.

While no renovation activity has taken place since the ground was constructed in 1961, the civic body has, this time, decided to undertake an overall repair of the drainage system within the ground premises and upgrade the stage from its current state to a marble one.

“An inspection of the ground was carried out on Tuesday and an estimate is being prepared, which will be completed — on the direction of the MCD commissioner — by Friday. The funds for the improvement work will be issued soon,” said the official, adding that the drainage system needed urgent improvement to stop rain water from accumulated inside the ground.

“Two toilet blocks, having 46 units each, on each side of the ground will be set up at the spot where the temporary kitchen and medical health camp were set up by the organisers. The area behind the stage will also be converted into a green zone,” he said.

The officer added that once the estimate was made, the horticulture department would start on the work of making the area green.

'Anna recovering fast'

Anna Hazare was given soft diet on Tuesday after three days of being hospitalised following his 12-day fast over the Jan Lokpal Bill. The anti-graft crusader, who has been admitted at Gurgaon's Medanta hospital since Sunday, had a plate of poha (pressed rice), doctors said. "For 12 days he was without food. Therefore, we need to gradually put him on a normal diet. We started with soup and juices, then soft fruits, but today he expressed the desire to have poha," said Dr Yatin Mehta, one of the doctors monitoring Anna's health.

"The good thing is he digested it quite well. Anna has not lost weight any further during the past 24 hours. Another sign of improvement was Anna took a brief walk around within the ward. On Monday, he spent most of the time sleeping as he felt very weak. It's a good sign," said Dr Mehta.

Anna, however, has been avoiding newspapers.

"He has made it very clear that he wants to lead a simple life for a few days. He wants to take a break," Dr Mehta added.

It will take five more days before Anna is discharged from the hospital.

"Complete recovery may take more than two weeks as he has lost a lot of fats and muscles. But he can be discharged after five days as he is improving well," said Dr Balram Gupta.

A fast is not enough

The best of victories are those in which neither of the combatants suffers defeat or a loss of face. Anna Hazare and the government can claim some credit — the former for pushing the government to the backfoot and the latter for refusing to yield ground on the essential demands. While Hazare's movement has placed corruption high on the national agenda, it will be for the government to decide how best to tackle it. Also, it will be in Parliament, not Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar, that laws will be enacted.

Hazare realised that people are fed up with the way corruption is affecting everyone's life and that the government is not willing to do much about it. His movement brought out people's anger over corruption and, at times, even challenged the legitimacy of Parliament, the executive and the judiciary. But it could not force Parliament to enact the Jan Lokpal Bill, which has been drafted by a handful of self-appointed people.

The naïve usually oversimplify a problem and believe what they prescribe is the only solution. This prescriptive psychology is natural to evangelists, but it can arouse passions among people that a leader may not be able to control later. However, it goes to Hazare's credit that no incidents of violence were reported from Ramlila Maidan or elsewhere in the country. This is because of the Gandhian approach that he adopted to press his demands, as also the readiness of the government to engage him in talks to find a way out.

For his colleagues to claim that this was a second freedom struggle or a movement of the kind Jayaprakash Narayan led in the 1970s was sheer hyperbole. Hazare is neither a Mahatma Gandhi nor a JP. His lieutenants strangely equated what they called 'civil society' with the entire country, although large sections of adivasis, Dalits and OBCs kept out. Though they are also victims of corruption, these communities seem to fear that Hazare's attack on parliamentary democracy is aimed at undoing the guarantees that the Constitution promises them. Therefore, the movement was essentially an urban middle class phenomenon, meant to voice the concerns of the city-bred.

When Hazare and his men jacked up their demands, many in the intelligentsia felt that forcing deadlines on Parliament to pass the bill was undemocratic and a threat to Parliament's supremacy in framing legislation. It's not that people should not put pressure on the government to demand reforms, but dictating laws to Parliament amounts to acquiring extra-constitutional authority, which no reasonable citizen can accept — it is a sheer case of overreach.

The crowd at Ramlila Maidan was making the organisers somewhat intolerant of people who didn't share their opinions. An atmosphere of arrogance was fast developing and Hazare's fast constrained the government's strategy. The attitude and inexperience of some of the Union ministers further complicated the matter for the government. Hazare's arrest and his subsequent transfer to Tihar is a case in point.

The political system and politicians in general were under attack. So were the institutions, particularly the Parliament, which has been procrastinating over the Lokpal Bill over the past four decades.

The demand that Parliament must pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by August 30 made Members of Parliament (MPs) come to believe that the authorities of Parliament and the Constitution were under threat. The overbearing attitude of Hazare's colleagues resulted in the coming together of these MPs from various political parties.

The final resolution was the result of negotiations between the Congress and the Opposition parties, and it was aimed at ending Hazare's fast. By this time even Hazare had realised the limit beyond which the movement could not have been stretched. There was also the risk that the movement may go out of hand or, worse, be hijacked by wrong people.

There are a couple of lessons that Hazare's agitation has thrown up for the country. First, in order to end corruption, it is necessary to bring about major reforms in the political and judicial systems to make them more responsive to the people. Second, we can achieve much by evolving a consensus among political parties inside and outside Parliament than by confrontational politics.

A consensus on political reforms and the working of vital institutions on issues like national security, terrorism, foreign policy, and pluralism can be achieved if members of various political parties show the kind of wisdom they did in both Houses last Saturday.

Mend your ways or face more anna-like protests: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a veiled warning to the government of possible Anna Hazare-like protests in "worse" form  and took potshots over criticisism that standards of judiciary had gone down in recent times. The bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu made the comments when they were irked over the failure of government to furnish adequate details in a service dispute.

"But what about the Government. Their officers do not give proper information and briefs to the counsel. Take another 10 years, people will teach you a lesson. Three days back you have witnessed it. It will be much worse," the bench told Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra.

The oblique reference was to the recent nation-wide protests for Jan Lokpal Bill culminating in the unprecedented action of Parliament agreeing to consider three crucial points raised by Team Anna Hazare.

The bench regretted that it has become a common practice for Government officers of not giving sufficient details or material to their counsel resulting in precious loss of time.

The bench then turned to some comments made recently on the prevailing judicial standards in the country and criticism made about them.

It suggested that instead of commenting on the judiciary it was time Goverment did some introspection as to how its own officers were functioning.

"We have seen some enlightened people making comments that the standards of judiciary have gone down. Let those people cry from roof tops that the standards of judiciary have gone down."

In the present case, the Centre has challenged a Guwahati High Court order directing it to grant enhanced pay structures to various Government employees.

According to the goverment, the order if implemented would entail a huge financial burden on the exchequer running into several crores of rupeees.

PM‘s “Get Well Soon” for Anna Hazare

He is in good spirits but looks weak after fasting for 12 days at the age of 74.Anna Hazare is recovering well in a largish room on the 13th floor of Gurgaon-based Medanta Medicity hospital.

Anna Hazare is recovering well in a largish room on the 13th floor of Gurgaon-based Medanta Medicity hospital whose Chairman and Managing-Director Naresh Trehan was giving the nation live updates about the Gandhian's health while he was fasting at the sprawling Ramlila Grounds till Sunday morning.

Trehan and other doctors continue to monitor him closely and hope to release him from the hospital later this week.

Sitting up in his bed, Hazare receives a bouquet and a "get well soon" card from someone for whom he had created a crisis a few days ago -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On day three of his stay in the hospital, some of Anna's ssociates are allowed in his room. Kiran Bedi, using her cellphone, sits in a sofa. Arvind Kejriwal is standing next to  Hazare's bed and Manish Sisodia has just brought-in the Prime Minister's bouquet.

"How are you feeling Annaji," asks a reporter.

"I am OK," says the Gandhian in a feeble voice gesticulating his hand to indicate so.

Admitted in 'In-Patient Department (IPD)', the Gandhian wearing 'dark sea-green' patient's uniform is most of the time using hand gestures to communicate.

Outside the hospital, a large battery of mediapersons, both print as well as electronic, were present so that not to miss any opportunity to get a glimpse or an update of Hazare.

However, heavy security has been deployed in and around the Hospital entry points to prevent any intrusion, either by media or supporters.

Noting that Hazare was "doing well and is stable", the doctor attending to him, Yatin  Mehta, said he walked for sometime in his room today.

Civil servants start following in Anna Hazare’s footsteps

He came, he saw and he took the Congress-led government by storm with his 12-day fast against corruption at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi that became the epicentre of a national crusade.

But just a few days later, Hazare’s plea to hundreds of thousands of supporters to do more than just cheer him on and instead change their attitude to corruption looks to be bearing fruit.

Sipping coconut water and honey, 74-year-old Anna Hazare ended a hunger strike on its 13th day on Sunday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government caved in to the demands of the veteran social reformer as parliament backed anti-graft legislation that met many of his demands.

In the past two weeks, the Ramlila Maidan, a common location for festivals and political rallies, had become a microcosm of the nation when it witnessed a lively gathering on a daily basis catering to supporters from all walks of life during a politically-driven movement.

But now that the grounds lay bare, with the restoration process already underway for upcoming events, suddenly there seems to be a vacuum. Not only school kids, but young professionals and daily wagers who sold “I am Anna” caps may be showing withdrawal symptoms from a busy fortnight as everyone goes back to their humdrum lives.

Even 24-hour news channels have gone back to airing sports and entertainment stories, which seemed to have been on a hiatus during the tense stand-off between Anna Hazare and the government.

Despite the present lull, people have been foraying into the corruption-free way of life, highlighting honest and transparent means. A deputy inspector general of police in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, made all his subordinates take an oath to reject bribes and corrupt practices on Sunday.

“It was always my aim to infuse honesty in our rank and file. So, after a heart-to-heart talk with my men, I thought of this experiment and am hopeful it will bring the desired results,” said Asim Arun.

In another case, a public servant, police inspector Bhanupratap Barge set an example by voluntarily declaring the list of his movable and immovable properties on his Facebook wall.

Technically, the government hasn’t yielded much by merely agreeing to the social reformer’s key demands in principle. Nevertheless, the government knows the possible ramifications if it decides to renege on its given word of a “strong and effective Lokpal (ombudsman) bill” in the next session of parliament.

“Till there is complete change, I will not sit quiet … everyone is united in this cause now,” said the self-styled Gandhian activist, promising to create another stir if the government doesn’t bring the anti-graft law soon.

PM sends ‘get well soon’ card, flowers to Anna

New Delhi: In a warm gesture, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent a ‘get well soon’ card and flowers to Gandhian Anna Hazare, who is recuperating at a Gurgaon hospital after fasting for 12 days to press for a strong a Lokpal.

Anna’s health condition has shown consistent improvement ever since he was admitted to the hospital on August 28, after he broke his fast with honey and coconut water. A day earlier, the Parliament had unanimously issued the Sense of the House agreeing to incorporate, in principle, to the demands being made by him.

Anna is admitted to the Medanta Medicity Hospital in nearby Guragon, where a team of doctors is keeping a close watch on his health condition.

As per the latest medical bulletin issued today, Anna’s blood pressure is 124/84; the pulse rate has also stabilised and is currently 78/minute. He has also gained weight – 66.6 kg.

However, the 74-year-old man, who got tremendous support for his anti-corruption movement, won’t be discharged from the hospital soon as the doctors attending to him deferred taking a decision on the matter.

Bollywood actors salute Anna Hazare's efforts

Actor Amitabh Bachchan

Bollywood actors celebrated as anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare emerged victorious from the Ramlila Maidan ground. Even as actors Aamir Khan and Om Puri personally went and shared the dais with Anna, others voiced their support for the leader who has become a national icon over last one month.

Actor Amitabh Bachchan proved to be one of the most ardent supporters of Anna who described the victory as a “solo effort”.
“The initial step to correction has been taken, the battle has been won but the war remains. True victory shall only be registered when we shall win the war,” he said.

Actor Preity Zinta with her usual zest heralded the victory as a golden day in the history of India. “Sunday was a golden day for each Indian and it should be ensured that the momentum was not lost,” she said.

Actor Bipasha Basu, who is reacting to a lot of issues on Twitter, was also vocal about Anna Hazare when the news broke out of him breaking his fast. “Anna is our true leader and his spirit has made everyone conscious that we can do away with corruption and need not accept it as a part of our lives. Big step forward for India n all of us,” the actor tweeted.

Actor Prachi Desai also echoed similar opinion on Twitter, “Today I’m truly proud to be an Indian. Today is Anna-Pendence day!! Anna Sahib breaks Anshan. His fight against corruption will give us better future ahead. Jai Hind! Jai Anna! Jai Lokpal.”

According to Shilpa Shetty the victory of Anna Hazare proves that India has become a true democracy. “Congratulations to ‘us’ as a country, now we can call it a Democracy, that we Practise! Feel proud of this awakening, better late than Never! Heartfelt salutations and gratitude to Annaji and all the people with him 4 the selfless fight they’ve put up on our behalf. Respect!”

Filmmaker actor Frahan Akhtar urged his countrymen to hold on to the momentum. “Anna unites the people b4 breaking his fast. A big day for India. Now it’s our responsibility to sustain this momentum,” actor-director Farhan Akhtar said.

“Anna’s fight is in every home. This will impact everyone of us for years to come! In my life, I hope I’m able to keep this alive in my small way,” actress Lara Dutta echoed the same sentiment.

Kiran Bedi refuses to apologise for remarks against MPs

Anna Hazare associate Kiran Bedi has made it clear she will not apologise for her remarks against MPs made during the Lokpal campaign at the Ramlila Maidan last week.

"Sorry no apology for being demonstratively a voice of public anguish. Prepared for any punishment," Bedi tweeted.

Bedi and Om Puri face privilege motions for mocking at and passing caustic comments against MPs. The notices were filed in both houses of Parliament on Monday.

Puri, who called MPs "anpadh" (uneducated) and "nalayak" (incompetent), had apologised, but Bedi is defiant.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said she was considering a privilege motion against Puri and Bedi. "The matter is under my consideration. I have received notices on the question of privilege," she said in Lok Sabha.
Bedi had on Friday described MPs as people wearing masks. "This is how they behave. One thing with a mask and another without a mask," she said.

To the great amusement of the crowd at ramlila Maidan, Bedi proceeded to pull a scarf from the neck of a young activist on stage, wrapped her head with it like a 'ghunghat' (veil) and proceeded to mock MPs and their "double-faced utterances".

She even vented her ire on an MP who had come to Ramlila Maidan. "Ask him what is he going to do," she asked the crowd. "They (the MPs) say one thing inside (Parliament) and another thing outside."

I am happy to be a mediator for Anna: Bhaiyyuji Maharaj

“The moment veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare broke his fast by sipping coconut water and honey offered to him by two young girls, Simran and Iqra - one a Dalit and the other a Muslim, I felt so relieved and happy that I have taken the responsibility of meeting all the needs of the two girls till their marriage,” said Bhaiyyuji Maharaj.

The spiritual guru played a crucial role in getting the 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader break his fast.

He arrived in Pune on Sunday night to spend time with his ailing cancer-stricken father admitted to Noble Hospital, Hadapsar. His seven-year-old daughter and wife also stay in Pune.

“I have known Annaji for 12 years as we have worked on various rural development programmes. Anna recognises and respects my work. In fact, under his guidance, I am also developing a village called Kapileshwar in Akola,” said the spiritual guru, who was once a model for Siyaram’s Suiting.

Very hard to believe that this jeans-clad godman, who is also active on Twitter and Facebook, has a huge following including political heavyweights like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Sunil Tatkare, Chhagan Bhujbal, Uddhav Thackeray, Nitin Gadkari, Shivraj Patil, Harshwardhan Patil, Vinayak Mete, Gopinath Munde, RR Patil and Anil Deshmukh.

Apparently, he was requested to play the role of a mediator due to his proximity to political leaders and Anna.

He came into the scene on the 4th day of Anna’s fast.

“I initially met Union minister Kapil Sibal and then Annaji to understand and hear their opinion. My aim was to see that a solution come out where the Parliament is given respect, the Indian Constitution shouldn’t be ignored and should be kept as the highest guiding light and the emotions of citizens should also not be undermined. I also had to make sure that Annaji’s pride and self-respect should not be hurt,” the Indore-based spiritual guru said.

This new negotiator on behalf of Team Anna along with Medha Patkar and Prashant Bhushan met Salman Khurshid, Nitin Gadkari and several Union ministers in Delhi to ensure that an amicable decision is made as soon as possible especially due to
Annaji’s health.

“I made an 11-point draft along with Sibal and presented it to Anna. That was the first breakthrough.

On that draft, further discussions and talks happened,” he said.
Bhaiyyu said that he would be happy to help both the parties till the bill is passed in the Parliament.

Govt employee takes Anna path in fight against graft

GUWAHATI: Anna Hazare's crusade against corruption had garnered support from people across the country, however, no one extended any help to a state government employee in the city who staged a hunger strike alone on Monday seeking probe against rampant anomalies in the state council of education research and training (SCERT).

Jyotish Chandra Mahanta, a SCERT employee, alleged that he was not given his salary for eight months for raising his voice against the financial anomalies in the organization he worked with. He even accused the authorities of the Hindi Teachers' Training College in North Guwahati and some of the employees of the SCERT of threatening him with dire consequences.

"After joining the Hindi Teachers Training College way back in 1973, I was deprived of a promotion for bringing to light corrupt practices by officials there. Even after Lok Adalat ordered a promotion, I did not get any justice for trying to unearth details regarding the financial anomalies. Subsequently, my post was attached to DIET located at Mirza in Kamrup district, which is also run under the SCERT, where the principal of the institute forced me to do work that was not supposed to be done by an employee who served as counter attendant", Mahanta alleged.

He alleged that his family members were suffering a lot after the SCERT suspended him from his job in March 16 this year.

"I have not received a penny from the government from January this year. It has become extremely difficult for me to provide bread and butter to my family in this crisis period", Mahanta said adding that he has also knock on Assam governor's door seeking justice.

He accused the SCERT of negligence as he did not bribe the 'corrupt' officials and alleged that a state government official of giving him advice of voluntary retirement.

When contacted director of SCERT, U Deka refuted the allegations and said Mahanta was reinstated at the Hindi Teachers' Training College in north Guwahati around three months back but has not joined his duty yet.

Hazare win boost to state morale

BHUBANESWAR: The delivery date of a "strong Lokpal Bill" is still months away, but Orissa is ecstatic that the stone laid by Anna Hazare could nail the corrupt in the state sooner than later. The jubilation on Saturday evening marked after Parliament passed the resolution promising to add teeth to its weak Lokpal Bill evidently came as a big relief for the people who for years waited in vain to see the arms of law catch the crooks.

The ray of hope kindled in Jagdish Gupta, a 74-year old cancer patient who sat on fast at Cuttack in support of Anna, underlines the climate of optimism the weeks of countrywide protest called from Ramlila Maidan has set in the state. "It is a good beginning, the like of which I had never seen in my life. I think time is running out for the corrupt in the government to rule the roost. I would not know how far the proposed Bill would meet the nation's expectations, but people are now very conscious not to let such elements go scot free," Gupta, resting after days of fasting, said over phone.

Gupta had big business at Malgodown, Cuttack's central trading centre. He was also the general secretary of Malgodown Chamber of Commerce. "Not in the distant past people in business were viewed as synonymous with corruption. We were treated as bottlenecks in development. But what all of us now experience is quite unbelievable. For everything one is forced to pay under the table.

At the sales tax office the staff is unwilling to give the waybill for transport of goods without bribe. In the hospital the doctor dares to play with the lives of patients till money reaches him. So is the situation in the education sector. From ministers to officials every wing of the government is steeped with corruption. Sometime back a trader colleague of mine after much persuasion filed a complaint with the police over a theft incident. The first thing the police did was to arrest some of his most trusted persons. It so happened that the complainant had to pay Rs 5,000 bribe for their release. We have degenerated to such level that when I was fasting some people collected money in my name and pocketed them," Gupta, who has since given up business, said.

Gupta's remarks are corroborated by former law minister Narsingh Mishra, who said: "Our system is so porous that anybody can get away doing anything". "Had our laws been powerful the present government would not have dared to suppress 24 investigation reports sent by the Lokpal. It also would not have survived so long despite the multi-crore mining scam and the series of other scams," Mishra said. "In Karnataka the Lokayukta report threw the chief minister out of power, but nothing has happened in Orissa," he pointed out. Mishra described the Orissa Lokpal and Lokayukta Act as a 'spineless law having no biting teeth. "Corruption cannot be prevented, but the corrupt can be taken to task, which is not really happening now. Repeated violation of law by the chief minister, ministers and bureaucrats can be prevented to a great extent by a strong law in hand," he said.

The former law minister said the two present laws, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1980 and provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have put the investigating agencies to function under the control of the same government, whose activities are sought to be investigated. Hence, there is no tangible result. Added to it, when there are allegations of corruption leveled against the judiciary and the investigating agencies and prosecutor act as per the desire of the government, how can there be prosecution much less conviction," he pointed out. He said a strong Lokayukta will go a long way in punishing the corrupt and preventing corruption to a great extent, he added.

Binayak backs Hazare, thanks him

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Human rights activist Binayak Sen on Monday came out in support of Anna Hazare and said the nation should be thankful to the latter for articulating the rising public anger against corruption. Delivering the keynote address at a function here, Sensaid the Delhi Police move to arrest Hazare was immoral.

However, he added that he felt that the manner in which the campaign progressed reduced the entire debate to the choice of which bill to adopt, Anna's version or that of the government. "The demonstrations that we saw were legitimate, but when we workwithin a democratic system, we should accept parliamentary norms. Corruption is just one of the many ills afflicting our political economy," he said. State culture minister KC Joseph released two new books on Sen.

Receiving the books, Sen said he was having a tough time adjusting to his new found celebrity status. "I have been working since 1981 in Chhattisgarh. No one knew me, I was happy. But now I find myself in this situation where books are being written about me," he quipped. Drawing attention to his work as a doctor, Sen said the nutrition situation in the country was alarming. The general picture is bad enough, but it's pathetic when it comes to the marginalized, he said. The scene is getting further muddled with the state moving in to appropriate common property resources.

Sen urged the audience to participate and support him in his campaign to collect a million signatures to revoke the sedition law. The online petition at will be submitted to Parliament in the winter session.

"UK has scrapped the sedition provision, but we are still clinging on to it," he said. Replying to a pointed question whether the state was trying to co-opt him by making him a member of a steering committee in Planning Commission, Sen said he was there only as an adviser, sharing his decades-long experience working among tribals on health issues.

"I don't draw any benefits from the Planning Commission, and the latter is under no obligation to accept my advice," he said.

Anna ‘Gandhi’ Hazare, made by Facebook!

Anna Hazare fasted for 12 days in protest against the Central government for a strong Lokpal Bill. He had protested for the same cause in April this year as well, at Jantar Mantar, but this time around the movement was massive and much more determined.

Support was extended to him from Kollywood to Bollywood, from Ralegan Siddhi to New York, from streets to cyber space.

It wasn’t just the political groups that joined hands to support his movement which turned his initiative into a mass protest; but it was also the passionate youth of contemporary India.

In the past there have been protests that made it to news headlines because they happened on a mass scale. But Anna’s protest attracted so many followers due to the era it took place in, the era of Facebook and Twitter!

There are almost 2,11,084 likes for Anna Hazare page on social networking site Facebook. By the time Anna was arrested by the Delhi Police last Tuesday, over 500 pages had been dedicated to the Gandhian and his anti-corruption campaign.

In the beginning if there were protests and hunger strikes against the government, the campaign gained public interest by means of reaching common people through media coverage, distributing pamphlets and hand outs.

But Internet surely made it much easier for the protest to gain momentum and gain popularity. By Internet, I mean the emphasis being on social networking sites.

From the common youth to Bollywood celebrities, all extended support to Anna through social networking sites, which created more and more buzz around Anna’s movement.

The support extended to Anna at the Chhatrasal stadium, Jantar Mantar, Tihar Jail, Ramlila Grounds wasn’t all; people extended him support by changing their images to his pictures on Facebook. There was a flood of pages dedicated to the Gandhian and umpteen tweets floating all over Twitter in his name.

A random Google search on Anna Hazare returned 13,800,000 results (in 0.09 seconds), more than Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi - 11,700,000 results (0.08 seconds), Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi - 1,170,000 results (0.08 seconds), or Congress president Sonia Gandhi - 1,160,000 results (0.08 seconds). BJP president Nitin Gadkari returned a poor 793,000 results (0.06 seconds).

Well, the protest has led to victory now and the entire country is celebrating! Kudos to the big triumph! But we got to accept that has it not been for the social media, the revolution would not have been this “revolutionary”!

Anna Hazare wave has flag sellers in Kovai raking in the moolah

COIMBATORE: The anticorruption wave that swept across the country including Coimbatore has set the cash registers jingling at outlets selling national flags, anti-corruption posters, tricolour badges and Anna Hazare caps. The patriotic fervour that gripped the nation helped flagmakers and sellers rake in unexpected profits.

About one lakh national flags, including miniature straw tricolours,were dispatched to various parts of the state as the agitation gained momentum all over. The flag-making units were shaken out of the lull that usually comes post Independence Day celebrations.

"Our organisation alone ordered more than 1,000 flags from the city shops and also distributed close to 6,000 anti-corruption badges and other accessories during the mass movement in Coimbatore. We are proud that we were part of a national uprising and did our part to re-instil a sense of patriotism in people," said Rajkumar Velu, director, Fifth Pillar, Coimbatore.

According to major flag sellers in the city, there was a huge demand for miniature plastic flags and badges over the last two weeks. Most of the units had to work over time to meet the orders generated by the protests.

"Apart from one lakh flag pieces, about 10,000 tricolour badges and anti-corruption patches were also sold here in the city. We have not had such brisk sales during any other protest in recent times. The number of youngsters involved in the protest was also huge. Since there were multiple protests in the city, the sale also went up," said B Jeyakumar, a flag seller in the city.

The iconic Gandhi cap, brought back into vogue by Anna Hazare and company, also recorded high sales in the city. As many as 1,000 such caps were sold here during the protest.

Ironically, the Khadi outlets failed to cash in on the Anna Hazare wave. Only about 200 khadi caps were sold in these stores. There are three major khadi retail outlets in the
city at Town Hall, Gandhipuram and Avarampalayam.

"We sold only about 100 caps from our store during the last week. It was from the Independence Day celebration stock," said Jebamalai Cruz, manager Sarvodaya Khadi store, town hall.

Anna wave triggers cleanliness drive

KORAPUT: As Anna Hazare broke his fast by sipping coconut water mixed with honey at the Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday, thousands of miles away youths in Malkangiri celebrated it in a unique way.

Thirty youths of Ram Krushna Nagar in Malkangiri cleaned the roads, drains and removed the unwanted bushes from the roadsides. They have formed the Anna Sports Club inspired by the anti-corruption crusadet. "We have decided to celebrate the historic occasion by doing some social service and not just confine it to distribution of sweets and bursting of crackers. The drains and roads of our area had not been cleaned by the municipality since long so we decided to do it ourselves," president of the club Gourang Haldar said.

A portrait of Anna Hazare was placed in the middle of the road and club members started their cleanliness drive at 10 am that continued till 1 pm. They cleaned up two roads and lifted a huge volume of garbage and filth from drains. Unwanted roadside plants were also uprooted.

"We had formed the club after being inspired Anna Hazare to fight against corruption. Initially, the club was formed with 10 members but in a week's time the number of members increased to 30," said secretary Apu Haldar. "In the coming days, to make people aware of corruption, we will spread Anna's message in the remote areas of the district and continue with our social work," he added.

Doubts over Anna's 12-day fast unfounded

JAIPUR: Doubts about Anna Hazare's 12-day fast are baseless, feel experts and religious followers even as Anna Hazare has explained to the likes of Lalu Yadav that it is the power of "brahmcharya" that helps him keep fast for longer durations.

While breaking his fast at the Ramlila ground on Sunday, Anna had said a few politicians who doubt his fast should understand the power of "brahmcharya" that helps him stay without food for several days. Besides, Anna is certainly not to first to observe a long fast. Under various customs and traditions, people are known to observe fast for over a month.

Both the sects of Jain community--Shwetambar and Digambar observe eight-day fast during Paryushan Parva. "During these days, people only take water and that too, in a controlled manner," says Rajendra Bhandari, a follower of the Shwetambar sect, and secretary of Rajasthan Khadi Federation. Throughout the day, the community members perfom bhajan kirtan, and it is only after sunset that they drink water. Bhandari says his sister Chandrakanta, also a Jaipur resident, had once fasted for 30 days.

Followers of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, 12th century sufi saint, are known to fast for 40 days, and survive on just water. The custom is known as chilla kashi. Hazrat Nizamuddin, the famous 14th century sufi saint, used to observe chilla kashi. The chilla, or retreat of Baba Farid is a revered place among Chishti followers at the Ajmer dargah.
"Chilla kashi is observed under the supervision of a peer at a designated place and the followers are given either water or tea depending on the body requirement," says sufi scholar Syed Jazmul Hasan, who has worked extensively on Chishti philosophy.

It's not just religion, but science too backs Anna's fast. Gastroenterologist at SMS Medical College, Dr Subhash Nepalia, says that keeping a long fast by a healthy person is quite possible. "The feedback mechanism in human brain keeps feeding your appetite centres, but once you stop taking meals the mechanism doesn't work, so one can stay without meals. The duration depends on the support system of one's body," he explains.

Nutritionist, Asha Khumgar says that with an Army background, Anna Hazare can easily manage to remain without food for more than 15 days. "Anna Hazare comes from an Army background where men are trained to live without food in war times. Moreover, he is a brahmchari that also helps in revitalizing his body." Besides, it is his immense will power that has helped him stay without food for such a long time, adds Khumgar.

Anna supporters, Lakshmi Chand end hunger strike

Supporters of social activist Anna Hazare called off their hunger strike on Sunday after watching on television their mentor breaking his fast in New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan in the morning.

Lakshmi Chand Thakur, a retired government employee, who was on hungerstrike for 13 days, broke his fast at the Ridge. In the last 13 days, Thakur had been hospitalised twice, as his health deteriorated. But he gave a slip to the hospital authorities and returned to continue his fast. Thakur had lost 4 kg in the 13 days when he survived on water and honey.

A group of five, who had joined Thakur in his hungerstrike, also ended their fast on Sunday. Later, along with Thakur, they were sent for medical examination.

In the evening, supporters of Anna celebrated the occasion by taking out a victory procession. Similar stories were reported from other areas of Himachal with hungerstrikes ending in Solan, Una, Kangra, Dharamsala, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Chamba and Mandi.

File FIR to probe video: Bedi tells Agnivesh

Team Anna member Kiran Bedi on Monday advised Swami Agnivesh to file an FIR if he felt that the controversial video in which he purportedly asked someone to act tough with social activist Anna Hazare was fake but the religious leader said his spiritual values did not allow him to do so.

A video surfaced on Youtube on Sunday showing Agnivesh, a close associate of Hazare, purportedly telling a person alleged to be a Union minister Kapil Sibal  that the government should act tough with the fasting Gandhian.

"Our core committee said that we should ask swami what he has to say about it. But later I saw him saying on television that the audio (in the video) is false. I advised him to have an investigation," Bedi said.

"I neither want to be a judge nor prosecutor in this case. I have advised him. I have asked him to immediately file an FIR in this matter and get the matter investigated just as Shanti and Prashant Bhushan did (in the CD issue)," she added.

Agnivesh on his part claimed that the video footage was "doctored and concocted" and part of a smear campaign against him and denied he was talking to Sibal.

Asked whether he would approach police or court on the issue, Agnivesh told PTI that he does not want to approach the police as his spiritual values do not allow him to do.

"My convictions are borne out of my spiritual values. I do not want to go to police. When someone attacked me in Ahmedabad during a meeting on Anna Hazare's campaign, I asked police not to report it and I forgave him," he said.

Bedi had on Sunday accused Agnivesh of being "absolutely unethical". She said the footage has "shocked us all and we are very uncomfortable" with it.

Blessed with son, couple names him Anna

HISAR: On Sunday morning when Anna Hazare ended his hunger strike after 12 days, the Mittals here were blessed with a baby boy. As they had already decided Jitender and Rani Mittal, the parents, named their new born Anna Mittal. The couple pledged to fight corruption and not to pay even a single penny as bribe to anyone for any work.

"We had decided to name the child after Anna,'' Jitender Mittal, the father of the newborn who owns a newspaper agency here said.

His wife Rani said, "I feel proud to have named my son after a great saint of modern India. I shall pray to God to bless my Anna with the qualities that Anna Hazare has.''

Pawan Mittal, Jitender's father said, "We come from a business family who don't shy away from shortcuts. But we shall support Jitender and Rani in their pledge of fighting corruption. After all we don't want to do anything that brings disrespect to the name of Anna Hazare,'' said Pawan Mittal.

The Mittals though didn't give any tip to hospital staff, however distributed sweets in the hospital to celebrate Anna's victory and little 'Anna's' birth.

Give Anna security, his lawyer writes to CM

Advocate Milind Pawar, Anna Hazare’s lawyer in Pune, has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil demanding security for Hazare.

The letter sent on Sunday states, “Anna Hazare had undertaken an indefinite hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. For the last 12 days, Anna along with his team and other volunteers had delivered speeches against the government and some people were upset with these speeches...I know Anna is against any security, but I think it is the duty of the government to take care of Anna...’

In April this year, too, Pawar had written to the CM demanding security for Hazare, but no action was taken on the request.

“Although Hazare is not a government servant, it is the government’s lookout as to how security can be granted to him considering this latest agitation. Everyone knows what happened to Gandhiji and it is now the government’s responsibility to safeguard Anna,” said Pawar. He added that it is not difficult for the government to give him special consideration and grant him security.

When Pawar had told Anna about this demand for security in April, he had dismissed it saying he did not need it. “However, after this 12-day fast, things have changed and he has become more vulnerable,” Pawar said.

Datta Awari, a close aide of Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi, said that the government had appointed four security personnel for Hazare after he had filed a police complaint against Padmasinh Patil, whom the NCP had suspended from the party in 2009, for allegedly conspiring to eliminate him. “However, considering the latest 12-day fast, there is definitely a need for improvised security for Anna,” said Awari.

Suresh Pathare, a confidant of Hazare who has been with him in Delhi, said it was up to the government to decide whether or not Anna needed security. “Demanding it is against Hazare’s ideology,” he added.

It's Anna all the way at marbat-badgya

NAGPUR: In keeping with tradition of representing current themes, it was Anna Hazare all the way at the historic marbat-badgya procession, a 150-year-old unique feature of Nagpur.

On Monday, marbat-badgyas festivity organized on the occasion of 'Tanha Pola', didn't meant just fun, frolic and masti but focused on the issue of corruption. Thousands of participants welcomed the procession with slogans like 'Vande Mataram', 'Anna Hazare Zindabad' and 'Anna Hazare Age Badho, Hum Tumhare Saath Hai'.

The marbat-badgya procession, being taken out since 1880s has its link to India's freedom struggle. This time it represented Hazare's second freedom struggle against corruption.

The organizers targeted union HRD minister Kapil Sibal, CWG and 2G spectrum scamsters Suresh Kalmadi and A Raja respectively by taking out their badgyas. Even Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari was also not spared for his remarks against Hazare. For the first time, Hazare's supporters took out a badgya of a corrupt leader and bashed him with shoes and chappals along the way.

One of the badgyas by Vidarbha Yuvak Kranti Dal took a dig at lavish wedding of son of a prominent leader in city. It carried the slogan "Hum Rashtriya Neta Bhastrachar Kar Ke Bachcho Ki Shadi Me 21 crore Kharch Karte Hai." It also targeted Centre's telecom policy favouring private companies. Another badgya stated: "Hum Us Desh Ke Wasi Hai Jis Desh Me SIM Card Free Milta Hai Par Chawal Rs 30 Kg Bikta Hai."

The badgya by Chhatrapati Shivaji Park Badgya Utsav Samiti, Maskasath, too targeted the corrupt politicians. It said, "Beimano Ka Raj Badal Do, Bhastrachar Ka Taj Badal Do." It depicted former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh with a bundle of currency notes in hands for his alleged role in cash-for-vote scam.

Kapil Sibal, who criticised Hazare, was the prime target of the organizers. Kapil Sibal was termed as 'Kaptil Sibal' for playing politics with Anna (Kaptil in Marathi means shrewd and cunning). The slogan on a 15-foot badgya of Kalmadi by Bal Vidyarthi Badgya Mandal, Itwari, stated: "Jail Me Aapka Swagat Hai Mr 420." It also highlighted fuel and LPG price hike.

For the first time, a badgya of corrupt leader by Anna's supporters appealed to the voters to remind their MPs that they had been elected to serve the people. The organizers stood on an open chariot and bashed the badgya with chappals expressing their ire against corrupt leaders.

The 131-year-old Kali marbat by the Kali Marbat Utsav Samiti, Maskasath, and 127-year-old Pivli marbat by Tarhane Teli Samaj, Jaagnath Budhwari, continued to be the star attraction of the procession. Thousands witnessed the traditional 'milan' of both the marbats at Nehru Putla, Itwari.

Despite Ramzan and EId festivity, many Muslim community members also witnessed the marbat procession which passed off peacefully. Even as badgyas were a source of entertainment, thousands tried to touch the feet of Kali and Pivli marbats, which are deities for them.

Earlier, the procession started from their respective areas at 10am. All the badgyas and marbats joined the mainstream at Ganjakhet Chowk and passed through Maskasath, Itwari Shahid Chowk, Gandhi Putla, Mahal, Gandhi Gate, Bhaldarpura and Agrasen Chowk. The Pivli marbat was burnt on a special platform at Pachpaoli while the Kali at Harihar Mandir in East Nagpur.

Anna effect: No-bribe pledge by Stephanian cop

NEW DELHI: As Anna Hazare ended his fast at Ramlila Maidan, a Stephanian started his own initiative to contribute towards a corruption-free India. Asim Arun, a member of the alumni association and deputy inspector general of police (DIG) of Agra, made all his subordinates take an oath at an open house on Sunday that they would shun bribes and corrupt practices.

On the initiative, Arun, who is from the 1994 batch of Indian Police Service (IPS), said, "We tried to find out what the police personnel feel about corruption and to our surprise, even they want to pull themselves out of the systemic rot and root out corruption."

On whether the initiative was prompted by Anna Hazare's movement, Arun said he was always keen on inculcating ethics in work. "It was always my aim to infuse honesty in our rank and file. So, after a heart-to-heart talk with my men, I thought of this experiment and am hopeful it will bring the desired results."

Arun had candid discussions with all his subordinates on Friday and Saturday to find out why they took bribes. Interestingly, the main reason was the large-scale corruption during recruitment.

The alumni association has now appealed to all Stephanians to take their cue from Arun and start similar initiatives in their own individual capacity to make the anti-graft movement a success. Media coordinator of the association, Ashish Joshi, said, "It is the responsibility of every individual to be a part of this campaign against corruption. Only then will the efforts of the civil society and government will be successful."

The St Stephen's College Alumni Association, of which Member of Parliament Sandeep Dikshit is a founding member, had appealed to all the 19 MPs in the Parliament who are Stephanians to take urgent steps for an early resolution on the Lokpal issue. While appreciating the efforts of Dikshit and law minister Salman Khurshid in breaking the logjam and reaching a consensus, Joshi said, "We at the association appeal to all the Stephanians in the Parliament to be proactive and facilitate an early solution for corruption in the form of a strong Lokpal Bill."

Ralegan dances to patriotic numbers

Victory flags were put up in almost every house in Anna Hazare’s village Ralegan Siddhi where celebrations erupted as the 74-year-old activist broke his 12-day fast at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday.

As Anna broke his fast, thousands assembled to celebrate. “Today is an Independence Day. We have won the second freedom struggle today,” said Subhash Pathare, a school teacher.

Sarpanch Jaisinghrao Mapari added, “We are celebrating a successful revolution. We were not there when Gandhiji fought for our country’s freedom struggle. But we have experienced it while working in this second freedom struggle with this Gandhi of our times.”

The residents of Ralegan Siddhi have fought every struggle that Hazare took up in the past and have celebrated his every victory. But the celebrations on Sunday were unprecedented.

In each household a gudi was hoisted along with a Tricolour and rangolis were drawn in front of the doors. Almost everybody assembled at Yadavbaba Temple ground and danced to patriotic songs including Mere Desh Ki Dharati,Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka and Kailash Kher’s song on Jan Lokpal Ambar Tak Yehi Naad Gunjenga. “Even the August 15 celebrations were not as good as this,” said Pawan Auti, a class 12 student from Ralegan. “It’s not as if someone has told us to celebrate with such enthusiasm. We feel like doing it.”

“We have celebrated Anna’s victories before but this is first time women are dancing, shedding all inhibitions,” said Kaushalya, daughter-in-law of Anna’s brother Maruti Hazare.

Anna exits fast lane, risky road ahead

The end to a mobilisation that had, in its best moments, appeared to touch off and frame a spontaneous outpouring of popular anger against corruption came in a choreographed moment unsubtle in its symbolism, or tokenism. When Anna Hazare broke his fast at 10:20 am on the 13th day today, the coconut water mixed with honey was given to him by five-year-old Simran and eight-year-old Iqra. While Simran was repeatedly described from the stage as “Dalit”, Iqra, the announcer underlined, again more than once, was “from Turkman Gate”, that infamous site of Emergency excesses but on this day arguably a handy shorthand for the child’s religious identity.

Also in response to questions being raised about Hazare’s mobilisation not being representative enough, especially in terms of the participation of marginalised castes and communities, both Arvind Kejriwal’s long speech that delayed the breaking of the 74-year-old’s fast well beyond the announced deadline of 10 am, and Hazare’s own speech after that, invoked “Babasaheb Ambedkar” several times.

While Team Anna was talking back to its critics through the scores of TV cameras splayed across the Ramlila Maidan, the crowd, made up of mostly young men that had gathered for the last day of Hazare’s fast, seemed not to notice.

Amid the now-familiar drum-beating and flag-waving, and chants of Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai and Inquilab Zindabad at the maidan, a placard congratulated the “people and the media” for their “chattani ekta”, or steadfast unity against politicians. A poster showed Hazare with a bow and arrow slaying Ravana, behind one of whose many heads loomed a picture of Sonia Gandhi.

As it celebrated the vigorous anti-politics theme that has marked the Ramlila mobilisation, the crowd seemed not to pause either for the last-minute nuance with which Team Anna tried to temper its own message.

Kiran Bedi, at the receiving end from MPs in the debate in Parliament yesterday for her on-stage anti-politician theatrics, was conspicuous by her silence today. In his own speech, Kejriwal thanked the political class for this “historic moment” — from the PM “first of all” to Parliament and political “parties and netas” — before offering fulsome gratitude to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his mediation and the workers of his Art of Living foundation.

In contrast to the rhetoric from the stage over the last few days that heaped scorn on the political class as a whole, Kejriwal sought to draw a distinction between the “helpless” party and MPs and the all-powerful “high command”. “Only the high command decides whether a law can or cannot be made, not the people or the MPs,” he said.

Some of the sharp comments about Team Anna in the House had touched home. “We didn’t say that all netas are thieves (chor),” said Kejriwal. “We are not against the Constitution...We respect Babasaheb Ambedkar”.

The apparent tempering of rhetoric against politicians was followed by an ambitious and radical agenda of systemic change.

Direct participation of the people in law-making should continue, said Kejriwal, through the “gram sabha” in the village and “mohalla sabha” in towns. “Only after consulting the gram sabha and mohalla sabha should the MP speak in favour of or against a law in Parliament. Not like it happens now,” he said.

Further, “in the days to come, Annaji will talk of a right to reject and a right to recall elected representatives, and judicial reforms,” he said, before administering an oath to the crowd to “neither give nor take a bribe”.

Hazare, the only other speaker from Team Aanna apart from Kejriwal, paid homage to “yuva shakti” or youth power and also mentioned the right to reject and to recall. There must be space for the “negative vote” he said, and the election must be countermanded if their number exceeded a certain level.

This time, Hazare’s speech included a range of issues — from the problems of farmers and workers to the menace of “teaching shops”. He promised that his fight was not yet over. “Mashaal jalti rahegi” (the flame will not be put out), and “if Parliament stands in the way, the jan sansad must rise up again,” he said.

The loudest cheers from the crowd were reserved for Hazare’s remarks that projected an oppositional relationship between the “Jan sansad” and the “Parliament in Delhi”. The people’s Parliament is bigger, said Anna. “That’s why the Parliament (in Delhi) had to decide (in favour of the Jan Lok Pal).”

For the crowd, clearly, there was to be no sudden switching off the anger and abuse directed against the political class. In fact, the televised special session of Parliament appeared to have made hardly a dent. For many, it had only added to their impatience with politics and ire against all politicians and MPs, and Lalu Prasad in particular, who seemed to have displaced Kapil Sibal as the prime target of vehemence and vitriol.

“Sabhi chor hain, bhrasht hain,” said Pradeep Goyal, national vice president of the Shaheed e Azam Bhagat Singh brigade. “They (politicians) are just fooling us,” he said.

“I saw the Parliament debate,” said Asha Nehra, who described herself as an army officer’s wife, “and it was so much nonsense... They were not precise, or to the point.”

For Bachu bhai, the question was: “Why couldn’t the standing committee also sit yesterday?” The House debate was only to “quell our anger, make the crowds go away,” he said.

Just as Lalu was the new villain, “the media” appeared to be the hero of the moment at the maidan. It was credited with not just “showing the truth” but with something more than that.

“It is because of the media that in the villages today, every child knows who Anna is,” said Surya Dev Dubey who works in the private sector.

In his speech, Kejriwal said the media had been “aandolan ka hissa” (part of the agitation).

For now, in the immediate aftermath of the calling off the 13-day fast, there was also a disbelief that it had all come to an end, and a reluctance to let go.

After the stage had been emptied, even as policemen and tentwallahs were shooing away those still squatting under the shamiana, most spoke of a “half victory” that still had to be completed. “This is a 0.5 per cent victory,” said Arvind Kumar, who works in a private company in Delhi. “Politicians can do a somersault anytime, go back on their promises.”

“Picture abhi baaki hai,” insisted Vikas Kumar, who works in a call centre, reprising a dialogue from a popular Shahrukh Khan film.

“It’s my fifth day here and I will not go back home till I am clear about what Annaji wants in the future,” said Tinku, a daily wage labourer from Aligarh.

A group of seven women from Satna and Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh, remained sitting under the shamiana, over two hours after Team Anna had left and the loudspeakers switched off from the stage. One by one, from crumpled bags, they took out their job cards, all unmarked.

“When we ask for NREGA work, they don’t give us any,” said Jaina Bi.

“I worked,” said Bharti Singh, “but they didn’t mark my attendance. Then why give us this job card?” she said.

The muster roll or labour attendance register, they complained, is controlled by the sarpanch and the sachiv (panchayat secretary).

The group from Madhya Pradesh didn’t get a hearing at the maidan. “We heard Anna is on fast against corruption and we wanted to bring our problem to his notice,” said Bharti, “but we couldn’t make our way to the stage”.

But the eldest in the group, Aamna Bi hadn’t lost hope. “We will try to find Anna again. He has achieved so much. Surely, he can help us,” she said.

Techies manage work, Anna campaign with elan

BANGALORE: Techies will log in extra hours every day and work on weekends to make up for leave taken for the Anna Hazare campaign, as well as participate in the next stage of the campaign set to begin three to four weeks from now.

Interestingly, their bosses have so far not asked them about having taken leave or a break from work, as the staffers have managed the work-activism balance well.

Anand Yadavad, software specialist and a member of India Against Corruption (IAC), got back to work after a hectic week at Freedom Park. "I had not taken leave at a stretch but I did so on and off. I'll log in an additional two to three hours every day and work on Saturdays for the next couple of months to compensate for time away from office."

Yadavad's boss has been positive about his activism. "Luckily, my boss too is interested in the movement and was part of it. I put in extra work to make up for lost time. In fact, my boss and colleagues congratulated me on the result." If the campaign gets intense in the weeks ahead to ensure the Lokpal bill is passed in Parliament, Yadavad plans to take time off. "I might even take leave without pay if the campaign requires it." Chander Pal, in a micro electronics firm, too is back at work. "I took leave on and off. I would log in the required hours for the day and work on the campaign two to three hours after work. I would spend lunch time at the cafeteria seeking participation from colleagues. It was the right informal setting to approach them for support."

"I made up for my leave working extra hours from home too. I plan to do the same in the next stage of the campaign - put in two hours extra at the workplace and work from home. I even rescheduled meetings if I was needed on a particular day for the campaign," says Pal. Pal's bosses, too, were positive about his activism. "I was appreciated by my colleagues. Bosses are comfortable as long as the company's professional goals are achieved and project deadlines are met." Shashank B L, who works for a German-based company also got his workactivism balance right. "I ensured all deadlines were met. I would go to Freedom Park after work and stay late. I would log in early, put in the required hours and may be a few extra, and then head for the campaign. I took a couple of days of casual leave."

Hazare crisis: Errors of judgement have been made, says Khurshid

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, a key negotiator with Team Anna, maintained that Government made 'no mistakes' in tackling Anna Hazare's 12-day fast but admitted there were 'errors of judgement'.

Describing the situation arising out of Hazare's stir for a strong Lokpal bill as complex, very sensitive and an unique experience for the Government, Khurshid also rejected suggestions that senior Ministers P Chidamabram and Kapil Sibal were 'discredited' for their handling of the crisis and had to be withdrawn from negotiations.

"Errors of judgement have been made, errors of judgement are made whenever you are involved in a difficult situation.

Errors of judgement are not mistakes", Khurshid told CNN-IBN on Karan Thapar's 'Devil's Advocate' programme.

"We made no mistakes. What we did may not have turned out to be the way it should. May be our calculation and anticipation turned out to be not what we thought it to be.

But I am not prepared to admit we made mistakes," said Khurshid, who was part of Government's negotiating team headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Defending the way the government handled the Hazare agitation, he said, "It is courage of conviction. It is faith in yourselves. We are not pushovers. We might have made errors of judgment. We may have lost ground somewhere but we are determined to get that ground back."

Asked whether he is saying that the government has made no mistakes, a combative Khurshid said, "The outcome of what you did depends on how you define a mistake. A mistake is to do something that you should not be doing."

To repeated queries whether government committed mistakes in tackling the situation, he said, "Ask me 100 times, my answer will be the same."

He further said, "It is very sensitive, complex situation that has just unfolded into a good resolution."

"It is faith and confidence and I believe we do not want the government to be kicked around...It is the best possible resolution by Parliament," he added.

‘Anna has no RSS, BJP link... he’s non-political’

Union Science & Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh played a key role in defusing the emerging political crisis caused by Anna Hazare’s fast. It was his direct contact with Hazare that proved to be the clincher in breaking the standoff between the government and Team Anna. The former Maharashtra CM was in a relaxed mood on Sunday as he talked about the lessons learnt and challenges ahead in an interview with D K Singh.

Anna Hazare has said it is only half-victory and he now plans to go a countrywide tour. What do you think are the challenges ahead for the government?

Whatever we have promised, we have to deliver. Unless the whole process (passage of Lokpal Bill) is complete, he will follow it, track it and get things done. I know him for a long time. He is a taskmaster. He will not give up. He got three-four laws enacted in Maharashtra. All his demands are in public interest and so nobody can say no to him. So far as his three demands are concerned, there is unanimity over this. How to put them in the constitutional framework is the job of the Standing Committee and the Parliament.

But his nationwide tour is sure to have wide ramifications for your party and the government. What will be your course of action?

He has got overwhelming support from all over the country. He will at least go to those people to thank them. He has no political ambitions. He is a simple person. In Maharashtra Assembly elections earlier, he identified some honest and good candidates irrespective of their party affiliations and supported them. But he is not into politics and elections. I don’t know about this time though. He has always been a social worker. He has no personal agenda. His movement is positive.

But your party called him a ‘mukhauta’ of the RSS and the BJP. Do you agree?

He has absolutely no connection with the RSS or the BJP. He is a secular person with Gandhian thoughts and values. Similarly, he is neither pro or anti-Congress. He is a non-political person who will fight against whoever is in power.

How and when were you roped in to hold a dialogue with him and what transpired in your first meeting with him?

The day the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the entire Lok Sabha appealed to him to break his fast, I thought it was perhaps time for me to meet him and inquire about his health. So, I informed the Finance Minister, who approved it. When I met him (Anna), I told him that it was time for him to break his fast as he was at his peak and the entire country was looking up to him. I told him, ‘you not only have to get a strong Lokpal Bill passed, but have to also see how it is implemented’. He said he had three demands, which were very important because the common man is suffering. He said if the government discussed these demands in Parliament, he would break his fast.

He did not want any resolution or voting...

No, he said that the moment discussions start in Parliament, he would break his fast. I then briefed the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister about this. They asked me whether I was sure that he would break his fast if the demands are met. The rest are matters of details.

So, when did this demand for a resolution and voting come up? What was your biggest worry yesterday?

The demand for voting came from his team later. At around 4 pm yesterday, he called me up and said that somebody had told him that no resolution was coming, nor any voting happening. I then explained to him that if there was a unanimous resolution, voting was not required. I said whatever we have promised, we will deliver. He was satisfied. I told him that it was the question of a Maharashtrian’s (Deshmukh’s) prestige and there should not be any last-minute problems. It was not to be because we have such a long association.

That brings us to the role of his team. Yesterday, many MPs alleged that Anna was being misled by those surrounding him. Did you also feel the same way?

I don’t know. I always met him and spoke to him one-on-one. It was only yesterday when I went to deliver the Prime Minister’s letter that he introduced me to Arvind Kejriwal and others.

So, you didn’t feel that he was being misled by his team members...

He has a mind of his own and I am sure he must have learnt a lot of things this time. Yesterday, when I handed over the PM’s letter and he read it, he said that he would break his fast and I should go to the dais and read out the letter. It was only after he had already taken a decision that he called the others to inform them. I was always dealing with him directly and was in touch with him on phone.

Anna has already talked of the next stage of his fight over demands like right to recall, right to reject, etc. How will you meet this challenge?

Things like electoral reforms are already under consideration of our government. So, there is no question of any challenges.

What have you learnt from the entire episode? Do you think the government mishandled Anna’s agitation starting from his arrest on August 16?

I cannot comment on this because I was not a part of the decision-making process.

Congress seeks consensus over poll reforms demands

NEW DELHI: Congress stood firm on Anna Hazare's demands on electoral reforms, saying it would require wide discussions and could be done only after consensus among stakeholders.

Anna's demand for 'right to recall', which would enable an elected representative to be voted out by his electorate midway the tenure, has triggered strong reaction among the political class, besides his call for insertion of "none of the above" option in the candidates list on EVMs.

AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said, "These are important but complicated issues and concepts. They have to be carefully scrutinized. They would require long discussions among all stakeholders and only after a consensus can these things move forward. They cannot be thrown in a casual manner."

Congress response on electoral reforms marked a strong stand after the Centre caved in to Anna's fast to look into his three crucial demands like inclusion of lower bureaucracy in Lokpal's purview, citizens' charter and appointment of Lokayuktas in states.

It is felt that lack of electoral reforms, like corruption, too has strong resonance with people and it would be prudent to attach urgency to them.

Anna's fresh manifesto had MPs speculate on the road ahead. While most feel that inclusion of "none of the above" option was feasible, the 'right to recall' option was impractical. An MP said that in our democracy, any winning candidate had more than 50% voters not voting for him and there was a readymade section to sign on a no-confidence motion even on the day of results. He felt the 'right to recall' could not be enacted against MPs and MLAs who did not have executive functions but were simple lawmakers.

A senior MP said the crucial issue was how to make elections less costly since poll expenses was the biggest source of corruption.

Sharad Yadav's rant against Team Anna puts Nitish Kumar in a spot

PATNA: Even as JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav basks in adulation for his unabashed bashing of the Anna Hazare campaign, his tough rhetoric against the anti-graft campaigner and his colleagues may cause discomfiture to his colleague, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Although Kumar is also a staunch believer in parliamentary supremacy, something that Yadav invoked in his speech, the chief minister seems to be wary of the risk of being perceived to be opposed to the anti-corruption upsurge. That his chief opponent Lalu Prasad seconded Yadav's observations in the widely watched debate in Parliament has only added to the unease of the Bihar CM who is helped by memories of alleged corruption under RJD rule.

In fact, Kumar, who has made eradication of corruption one of the key planks, had a detailed discussion with Hazare and members of his team only last month. He even invited them to help his officials draft a new Lokayukta campaign for Bihar. Justice Santosh Hegde has already taken up the assignment. Early on, Kumar was the first chief minister who refused to respond to government's belated effort to reach out to state governments and political parties on the issue of Hazare's push for a strong Lokpal, thus putting a spoke in the heels of government's effort to rally the political class against the civil society activists.

Given this and the CM's attempt to reinforce the perception that his regime marks a clear break from RJD rule, some leaders in JD(U) say it was awkward to see the party president and Lalu taking almost the same line not on anti-corruption activism but also its coverage in media.

Bihar recently became the first where properties of corrupt government servants would be confiscated and where CM, ministers and officials furnish details of their assets. It has also enforced the Right to Public Services Act.

Team Hazare insists on quota, phone tap powers

NEW DELHI: Contrary to the expectations of their supporters among the political class, the Anna Hazare campaign has decided not to drop their insistence that the proposed Lokpal be armed with powers to tap phones.

While the BJP has argued with Hazare's representatives against tapping powers for the Lokpal, the pitch has failed to wash with the activists. "We think that an independent bench of the Lokpal will be better placed to take a decision on phone tapping. We will definitely not consider excluding this section," said Prashant Bhushan.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, leader of opposition Arun Jaitley had argued against equipping the Lokpal with the authority to place tabs on phones.

Section 29(12) the Jan Lokpal Bill says, "The appropriate bench of the Lokpal shall be deemed to be the designated authority under section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act empowered to approve interception and monitoring of messages or data or voice transmitted through telephones, internet or any other medium as covered under the Indian Telegraph Act read with Information and Technology Act 2000 and as per rules and regulations made under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885."

The dispute over tapping powers for Lokpal apart, the activists also seem to be heading for a confrontation with sections of the political class over the latter's demand for quota for SC/STs, minorities, OBCs and women in the Lokpal panel.

Team Anna is unlikely to support the demand for quota for SC/ST, minorities and women in the Lokpal panel despite a strong demand from dalit leaders and representatives of regional parties. The quota call found a strong expression on Monday when P L Punia, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, demanded quota for dalits, tribals, minorities, OBCs as well as women in the search and selection committees for Lokpal as well as the final panel they constitute.

Sources in the Hazare group ruled out any re-think on the issue of introducing quotas in the panel, although they said there would be reservations in recruitment for the investigating agency that will be created under the Lokpal. "There can be no possibility of quota within the Lokpal panel but recruitment for officials in the investigation wing could be done on the lines of government recruitment," the source said.

Leaders of BSP, LJP and RJD were vocal in their demand for "representation" of SC/STs, OBCs and minorities in the proposed Lokpal during the all-party meeting convened by PM Manmohan Singh earlier this month. These parties are also represented on Parliament's standing committee that has to prepare the final draft of the Lokpal Bill.

All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations has also demanded the inclusion of dalits and minorities in the watchdog. The confederation, which will be meeting the PM later this week to press for its demand, has drafted a Bahujan Lokpal Bill that advocates representation of the backward communities in the Lokpal Bill.

In his speech in the Lok Sabha, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav forcefully advocated the need for representation of various communities. "This House is the mirror of society. Parliament and the state assemblies are sole places which reflect the true character of the country. This is not the case anywhere else," he said.

He named and gestured towards the MPs of backward and tribal communities in the Lok Sabha during his speech to highlight the virtues and importance of proper representation of various communities.

Yadav was learnt to have supported the demands for representation of various sections of people in the proposed Lokpal during the all-party meeting too.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav echoed similar sentiments in Lok Sabha and also during the all-party meet. "I had said it earlier, and repeating again... Lokpal Bill should provide for representation of dalits, backward classes, minorities along with other sections. That Lokpal will be considered an appropriate one," he said in the Lok Sabha while participating in the discussion on the issue of corruption.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Thanks to Anna, New Delhi metro station had high footfall

NEW DELHI: As thousands of people used Delhi Metro services to reach Anna Hazare's fast site of Ramlila Maidan, the New Delhi station registered over 40 per cent increase in its footfall in the past 10 days generating additional revenue.

Located 500 metres away from the Ramlila Maidan in the heart of the capital, the New Delhi Metro Station saw its highest footfall of 78,000 passengers on August 21, the first Sunday after the Gandhian launched his protest fast.

Around 20,000 additional commuters used the station ever since Hazare began his agitation at the grounds on August 19 as people hopped on to Metro to reach the site safely and comfortably.

On the last day of his fast yesterday, the footfall at the station was 62,500 as against the usual figure of 40,000-45,000 commuters.

The New Delhi Station became one of the busiest stations on the network since August 19 and the Delhi Metro deployed additional staff and set up extra token counters to cater to the rush.

A DMRC spokesman said over the last week, the average footfall at the station was 60,000 as against the usual 40,000-45,000 commuters.

"There was an increase of over 40 per cent in the footfall registered at the station," a DMRC spokesman said.

The additional footfall generated more revenue for the Delhi Metro, but details were not available.

To facilitate commuters, announcements on train timings and signages towards Ramlila Maidan were also made during the past week.

Om Puri apologizes for derogatory remarks against politicians

MUMBAI: Actor Om Puri on Monday apologized for the language in his speech at the Ramlila Maidan during Anna Hazare's campaign against corruption.

"I shouldn't have used words like anpadh, nalayak (incompetent) and 'ganwar'( a word often used to describe a backward and an illiterate person.) That is not the language of Om Puri but when I was up there on stage I became the voice of the people. I should've stuck being myself," the actor said.

Om Puri said he had been upset with the government for not paying attention to the deteriorating health of the 74-year-old Gandhian.

"I feared for his life and the repurssion it would've had on people in case anything went wrong with Annaji. But I was most hurt with the Congress MP who used derogatory remarks against Anna. How come no action was taken against him?."

He further added, "Today Lalu Prasad Yadav says he does not know me but he has made statements like the roads of Bihar are like Om Puri's cheeks isn't that derogatory?"

On Monday, members from both houses of Parliament moved privilege notices against Om Puri for making derogatory remarks againds them. The actor said he had not received any notice as yet but if he was called he would explain himself to the Parliament.

"If they accept my case fine if they don't I will accept take the punishment that is given to me."

Privilege notices were also given against former IPS officer and key Team Anna member Kiran Bedi for her caustic comments gainst the political class. Both Puri and Bedi made the remarks in a no holds barred attack against politicians at Anna Hazare's fast venue at Ramlila maidan last week.

The notices were under the consideration of the Chair in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Anna wave used to wash down corruption in Uttrakhand

Dehradun: Anna Hazare, courtesy his tirade for a Jan Lokpal Bill that was misconstrued by the masses as a panacea against the prevalent mass corruption, and hence their pent up frustration outpoured on the roads, has naturally become a household name. And now that the battle seems to be over for the civil society, at least for the time being, people in this small mountain state, who had given mass support by coming out on the roads and taking processions, are having second thoughts. The reason — everyone and anyone, irregardless of the fact that allegations of corruption had tarnished their image and reputation when they were, or are in power, jumped on the Anna bandwagon, perhaps in a futile bid to wipe their slate clean by putting on the Anna mask.

In this capital of this tiny mountain state, which is still in its infancy and goes by the pseudonym ‘Land of the Gods’, because of its four dhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Gangotri – besides the numerous well known temples that dot the various mountains and valleys, processions, candle marches and stopping the already chaotic traffic had become the order of the day. To add to the woes of the common man, the vyopar mandal along with other industries and business organisations decided to call a day off and down their shutters in support of Anna Hazare.

A former chief minister of the state, whose wife, the buzz word is, was the reportedly the epitome of getting things done during his tenure and a businessman was said to be the de facto chief minister, as he could get anything and everything done, albeit at a price, also led a march against corruption in support of Anna. It is another story that the former chief minister is presently not enjoying the confidence of his party’s high command and spearheaded the march against corruption in an apparent bid to improve his lot within his party.
The grapevine here is and scribes are in possession of audio clips in which an IAS officer, who happens to head a department is saying that he has to pay the chief minister Rs 50 lakhs every month. This he reportedly told someone from whom he had asked for a bribe of Rs five lakhs and was justifying his demand. That is the level of the prevailing corruption in this state.

It is sad but true that Uttarakhand got its legacy of corruption from Uttar Pradesh, of which it was apart till it was granted statehood and carved out on Nov 9, 2000. The babudom that it got was said to be those whom Uttar Pradesh though it could do without, because of the alleged notoriety that went with most of them. And rather than trying to get rid of the malaise, the roots only went deeper as one weak chief minister after another came at the helm. Greasing palms and moolah changing hands became not only the order of the day.

This will perhaps tell a part if not the whole story. A deputy forest ranger and a ‘van daroga’ recently stormed into the office of the chief minister waving the tricolour and shouting slogans against the prevalent corruption. Rather than going into why they had taken this extreme step and preventing the rot, the obvious happened. The duo was arrested by the cops for vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of the chief minister’s office.
The icing on the cake was the procession taken out by state government employees under the banner of the Rajya Karamchari Sanyukta Parishad in support of Anna’s tirade against corruption. This despite the fact that a majority of them are just making life miserable for the aam aadmi and there is hardly movement of any file in perhaps any office till the ‘suvidha shulk’ is duly pais.
This is what this scribe had to undergo just to get a ration card made, having come to this state after super annuation. First the babu at the office refused to give a form to be filled on the plea that none was available, but it could be got from an agent for a price. It was procured, at the said price, duly filled and given to the babu, who after going through it kept it in a corner. His attempts at opening a file and then a drawer to send the message that the form was not complete without the ‘suvidha shulk’ was overlooked, so he started sipping his tea.

“When do I come for the ration card”, I asked.

“Come back after a month, you will get it if you are lucky”, he retorted.
“But why after a month and what do you mean lucky”, I shot back.

“Because there are no ration cards in stock so obviously we cannot make one and it will be possible only when the supply comes from the government will it be possible”, he said indifferently with a mischevious tinge in his eyes.

Dehra Dun is the state capital and right under the nose of the bureaucracy and the ministers. That the department is without ration cards, is hard to believe, but then the babu is right for it is more than the call of duty that makes him work. So much for Anna Hazare, who brought the issue of corruption to the fore (not that it was not known). But the all important question is, whether it will free the aam aadmi from the malaise of corruption that is so deep rooted in sour society. This is what the aam aadmi is hoping for and this is why they took to the streets and the Ram Lila Maidan in such large numbers, that the powers that be register the message of their urge to get rid of this cancer that has afflicted the society at large and the babudom in particular.

An Anna needed here too, says Pak media Read more at:

Islamabad:  An Anna Hazare is needed in Pakistan to lead the struggle against corruption if the country's political parties continue to be averse to taking decisive measures against graft, a Pakistani paper said Monday, commending the Indian activist for his "unflinching struggle" for the common people.

"Corruption has become so ingrained in Pakistan and the political class is seen so steeped in it that unless firm, decisive measures are taken to combat graft, some Anna Hazare will be needed here too to lead the people's struggle against the malaise," said an editorial in the Urdu daily Jang.

Commending Hazare, it said he had finally prevailed over the Indian government and parliament.

"He only called off his 12-day fast after parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a strict Lokpal bill, and agreeing to the three main demands he had stuck to," the editorial read.

"India is one of the nations identified as corrupt, with both the government and private sector accused of it. There is a great deal of latent anger and resentment among the people and there are many sections which taken up the fight against corruption. But the way this social activist led a popular movement against corruption remains unparalleled," it read.

The editorial stressed there are lessons in the stir and its handling by India's politicians for Pakistan - which is also counted among the countries where corruption flourishes.

"The Indian parliament understood the people's sentiments and unanimously adopted the resolution. Here, in Pakistan, where there is no section of the administration untouched by corruption, there is still no consensus on the Ehtisab (Accountability) Bill," it read.

"This lack of consensus is proof of how deep corruption is entrenched in Pakistan's political class and elite. This attitude will not be accepted by the people for much long," the Jang warned.

Anna Hazare in Marathi film

Mumbai, Aug 29 The struggle of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare will be captured on celluloid as a Matathi film will be made on the Gandhian.

Arun Nalawade of Oscar-nominated film Shwaas, will be playing Anna in 'Mala Anna Vhyaychay' (I want to become Anna) to be produced and directed by Ganesh Shinde.

“By watching television, I have already started learning Anna's body language and am trying to imitate his voice. Playing Anna is the biggest challenge in my life and I am reading up on him. I shall try to give justice to the role," Nalawade was quoted as saying by Mid-Day.

Shinde has already done some live shooting at Ramleela Maidan in New Delhi where Hazare fasted for a stronger Lokpal Bill.

"I have also taken some shots from Mumbai and Ralegansiddhi of the agitations supporting Hazare," Shinde told Mid-Day.

"This film is about an unsuccessful heart-broken youth who goes to commit suicide, but gets inspired by Hazare's work and finds the real purpose of his life," he said.

Anna fasted for 12 days demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill to be passed by the Parliament. He broke his fast on Sunday.