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'Unity of political parties on Lokpal dangerous'

Last updated on: August 25, 2011 15:22 IST

'Unity of political parties on Lokpal dangerous'

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

The biggest problem today is that all political parties have become united, which is disastrous to the cause, says Justice Santosh Hegde.

The developments since the past few days have made it quite clear that a large number of people support social activist Anna Hazare's agitation and the movement for the introduction of his version of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

However, while speaking to one of the members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee - Justice Santosh Hegde - one gets a grim picture of what is really happening.

So far there was a sense of confidence that the fight was against the government, which many felt was too adamant regarding the issue. However, today, it has become a different issue altogether. All the political parties have come to the conclusion that both the bills (government's Lokpal Bill and the Jan Lokpal Bill) will be withdrawn and a new committee will be formed.

The biggest problem today is that all political parties have become united, which is disastrous to the cause. The real issue is that the points raised by the civil society should have been agreed to, but with these parties standing united, the hope is slowly fading.

None of us believe that anything good will come out of this now. The government is adamant and is famous of taking U-turns. There is no rift within our team and we have been stressing on the same point since the past several months. The entire team is behind Anna Hazare and the government also knows that we are united.

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Image: Justice Santosh Hegde, former justice of Supreme Court of India

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'Protest can continue, but fast should end'

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The battle is becoming a frustrating one and there have been so many flip flops from the government. We saw some hope when the government agreed to the two points raised by the civil society. We thought that the issue was coming to a close, but then again there was a U-turn. I find the situation to be grim today since it is not only the government which is being adamant, but all political parties have joined hands. They are united now and this is dangerous to this movement.

They speak about forming a new committee. We all know what this new committee is going to do. It will water down the entire exercise.

The prime minister's statements on the inclusion of the PM are in good taste, but I feel it has come too late in the day. He should have issued this statement in April itself.

However, the point is that are these statements serious or are people trying to take credit for something? During the various deliberations we have had we have never got a clear picture about anything. Each one is making his own statement and this is leading to confusion.

The health of Anna Hazare continues to be a concern for all of us. I personally feel that we should keep fast out of this protest. We do not want any loss of life in this movement. We have been urging him to withdraw his fast and continue with the protest. The police will take him to hospital and there is not much anyone can do about it since the law is very clear that no one has the right to kill himself.

It can be a fast, but not a fast until death, since it falls under the ambit of suicide, which is an offence as per the Indian law. The scene may turn ugly if he is forced. On a personal note, I too feel Anna should end his fast and continue with his protest. I have not contacted any of my colleagues as yet, but will surely convey that the fast has to be withdrawn since no life should be lost. We can continue to make our demands through a protest since the country is behind us.

Image: Anna Hazare on fast at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi
Photographs: Reuters
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