IAC failure a big loss for civil society
Anna Hazare has disbanded his Jan Lokpal Team. It’s the right step, in my view. You’d ask why? The veteran anti-graft fighter is perhaps the group’s sole member to have emerged unscathed from the futile battle. He must enter the political arena with a team unburdened by the weight of a failed movement.
For mounting a serious political challenge to the establishment he considers corrupt, Anna needs a mature team, not a set of impetuous crusaders. He needs to be more accommodative than exclusive to carry the process forward. He must for starters co-opt people he himself and some of his fellow travelers have alienated because they disagreed with their style of functioning.
From the way the Gandhian’s anti-corruption campaign hurtled from one roadblock to another, it was obvious that his comrades let personal egos and ambitions take precedence over the larger cause. The government has a lot to explain for the Lokpal not happening. What made matters worse was the Anna Team’s maximalist stance in the drafting panel set up vide a gazette notification.
I don’t hold Anna as much responsible for the lapses. He was wrongly advised by his team mates who felt they could pressure a discredited regime to get the law of their choice. In retrospect they have proved wrong with even Opposition parties expressing reservations over their recipe of Lok Ayuktas in States.
In their anxiety to rub the government’s nose in the dust, Anna’s allies botched up a golden opportunity to earn for the civil society a permanent stake in law making in the country. They fought not just the government but also their highly respected peers in other voluntary movements because they disapproved their Lokpal draft and the tactics they adopted to reach the objective.
For its part, the government should, instead of gloating over Team Anna’s predicament, work overtime to give the country an acceptable anti-graft ombudsman. Improvements if any over the original law can be undertaken through a civil society consensus— not unilateralism that proved to be the Anna group’s undoing.