The fast undertaken by social activist Annasaheb Hazare to force the Central Government to adopt his version of the Jan Lokpal Bill through the Parliament is an exercise in coercive politics through use of street power. No government worth its salt should submit to the this kind of blandishment. The Constitution remains the most sacrosanct document and Parliament the supreme body of consultation and legislation in a democracy. They cannot be browbeaten into accepting a bill by a body or group of NGOs in the style being witnessed at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi. The collective wisdom of 800 and odds parliamentarians representing 120 crore people of India cannot simply be given a go by lending preference to measures being suggested by extra-legislative bodies. Legislation is the sole prerogative of the Parliament and those trying to usurp this space are clearly seeking to undermine the supremacy of the Parliament.
Corruption is however the most major malady that afflicts the nation currently. No amount of development will take its benefits to the lowest of the low people, unless the rapacity of the politicians and gluttonous greed of the already bloated bureaucracy are bridled. Undoubtedly, the graft has spiraled unprecedented heights during the UPA II regime. The need for bringing about transparency in the system and holding the babudom accountable was never felt more severely. But building consensus on major legislation has always been a painstaking process and no shortcuts are possible. Remember the 33% reservation for women is still in the cold storage. So any force-feeding of bills to the Parliament will only affect the credibility of the bill and the Parliament.
Whatever may be the integrity of Mr. Anna Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi or Maharashtra, he is playing with danger by stoking agitation against the current government. The agitation is being clearly steered by saffron forces whose role in similar movements is blemished with communal bloodbath. It will be in fitness of things if Mr. Hazare does not become a victim of the hype created around him by interested quarters among Opposition parties, media and civil society groups.