Apprehensive about the provocative statements by Congress leaders, Gandhian Anna Hazare will seek the Supreme Court’s protection in the run-up to his fast beginning on August 16. Hazare and his team will file a petition with the apex court this week citing the “unconstitutional” statements made by Congress ministers and other leaders to suppress a democratic movement. The move gains significance following the police action against Baba Ramdev in June.
“Government said we will suppress the agitation of Anna Hazare as had been done in the case of Ramdev. Is this democracy or autocracy? You cannot suppress… That is why we will go to the Supreme Court tomorrow,” Hazare said. He had announced that he would go on an indefinite fast from August 16 if a strong Lokpal bill was not introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament.
This comes in the backdrop of statements by senior Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh who said Hazare would be given the same treatment as Ramdev. There have been others who have said that Anna’s movement will be “crushed”.
In a two-pronged strategy to continue pressure on the government over the issue of the Lokpal bill, Team Anna also plans to conduct a survey in Congress minister Kapil Sibal’s constituency. The survey will include points of disagreement between the government and civil society and Hazare’s team hopes that it will act as a litmus test to gauge public reaction to the issues of contention.
The exercise to work on a common agreed draft of the Lokpal bill between the government and Hazare-led civil society had ended in failure last month after which Hazare had announced that he would go ahead with his August fast.
Hazare has been demanding that the PM, lower bureaucracy and higher judiciary be brought under the ambit of Lokpal which has been opposed by the government. After nine meetings spread over two months, the joint drafting committee concluded its deliberations on a note of disagreement with the government asserting that it could not allow creation of a parallel structure which would be “answerable to nobody”.
An all-party meet on Lokpal earlier this month had agreed that a “strong and effective” bill should be brought in Parliament with consensus that supremacy of Parliament and established procedures be maintained.
Hazare and his team fear that their agitation may end up the same way as the midnight police raid on Ramdev and his supporters. Ramdev was agitating against corruption and black money at Ramlila grounds on June 4 when the police bundled him out of Delhi.