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Hazare versus Sibal: The plot thickens

August 01, 2011 16:15 IST
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Anna Hazare, the social activist, on Monday claims that 85 per cent people in Telecom and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal's constituency in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, support the draft Lokpal Bill drawn up by 'civil society' activists, not the government's version of it.

Activists attached to Hazare's team claimed they had distributed 400,000 referendum forms, with eight questions each, in Sibal's constituency.

Chandni Chowk had 1,413,535 registered voters in the 2009 general election, so assuming that the referendum forms were distributed only to registered voters, Hazare's team circulated the forms to about a third of registered voters in the constituency.

Of the 400,000 forms distributed, 72,000 forms were collected and scrutinised.

The referendum forms, the activists claim, reveal:

1. 85 per cent of the people surveyed agreed with the demand that if the citizen's charter is violated, a penalty should be imposed on the guilty officer and it should be paid to the citizen as compensation.

2. 89 per cent supported Team Anna's view that all government officials should be brought within the Lokpal's jurisdiction.

3. 85 per cent agree that a Lokayukta should be appointed in each state.

4. 88 per cent people agree that the legislators' conduct in Parliament should be investigated by an independent Lokpal, not by a committee of members of Parliament as the government proposes.

5. 86 per cent people agree that the judiciary should also come under the Lokpal's purview.

6. 82 percent agree that the prime minister should come under the Lokpal's ambit even while he is in office.

7. 84 per cent people agree that the Lokpal, not the concerned minister, should have the power to dismiss a corrupt government officer.

8. 83 per cent believed that the MP should vote according to the wishes of the people, as represented by the referendum.

Hazare and his team claim similar referendums, conducted in some constituencies in Maharashtra, have revealed popular support for their demands.

'The so-called representatives have failed to represent their people. The electorate of Kapil Sibal's constituency have come out strongly against the provisions of the Lokpal Bill approved by the Cabinet,' claimed a statement issued by Hazare's team.

Among Hazare's team are retired Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Right To Information activist Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh and others.

Sibal, a member of the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill, has been at the forefront of the face-off between the 'civil society' activists and the government over the anti-corruption bill.

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