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I support the spirit of Jan Lokpal Bill: Varun Gandhi

Last updated on: August 26, 2011 18:23 IST

'Jan Lokpal Bill will become a reality'


Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi

Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Varun Gandhi, who proposed to move the Jan Lokpal Bill as a private member's bill, believes that as a parliamentarian this was the best way he could help Anna Hazare's movement.  

Much before the Bharatiya Janata Party fully adopted the Jan Lokpal bill on Friday, their youngest parliamentarian had embraced it with both hands by proposing to move it as private member's bill.

Gandhi, who has tried to identify with the youth of India by supporting Anna Hazare's movement for a strong Lokpal bill, has also visited Ramlila ground and sat with the audience.

The history of moving a private member's bill in the Lok Sabha is not encouraging because Parliament rarely passes it. However, Varun Gandhi says, "Anna's bill is facing its greatest obstruction from those mental places who think that Anna's bill is going to challenge parliamentary institutions. Therefore, the best gesture is to let these very institutions debate this bill. Both their fears and aspirations will come through in the debate."

While talking about his support to Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill he said, "I support the spirit of the legislation called Jan Lokpal bill. I have no doubt that in some shape and form the Jan Lokpal Bill will become a reality. How can I contribute to the process? There are millions agitating on the roads. In a civil society initiative such as this, what role can I as a young person have? I thought as a parliamentarian this is the best way I could help."

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Image: BJP member of Parliament Varun Gandhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

'Jan Lokpal Bill will help whistle-blowers'

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Talking about the charge that Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill will usher in a police state in India, Gandhi said, "I think it's an exaggerated charge. I have never said that the Jan Lokpal Bill as it exists today is a perfect piece of legislation. It is far, far better than any alternative presented to us. It's a war on corruption, which is the single biggest stumbling block for our democracy. Power in an extreme form can be abused, but one should understand the spirit of the Jan Lokpal Bill. There should be checks and balances guarding them."

Talking about his differences with his party's stand over the Jan Lokpal Bill, Gandhi said, "I was just about 29 when I entered Parliament. Today I am 31. The fact remains that young people like me are inspired by the Gandhian ideals of Anna Hazare. We are not only inspired by his vision but also his perseverence. After all, here is a man who doesn't have a family of his own; no political or financial interests. He is simply doing it because he is fed up of the way things are. I think young people all over the country are agitating. Perhaps the way I look at things, and other people who are in their 40s and 50s think differently."

Debating the government bill, Gandhi said, "The jurisdiction of the government's Lokpal Bill covers only 0.5 per cent of government officials. I think every government officer needs to be covered under the Lokpal. The time limit by which cases are finished is crucial.

"In India justice comes at the end, but the end may come after my lifetime. The Jan Lokpal Bill gives a time-frame. I think that is brilliant. In the Jan Lokpal Bill, protection is given to whistle-blowers. In reality, it is the police in league with the corrupt mafia who exploit the system. The Jan Lokpal Bill will help the whistle-blowers." 

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Image: Social activist Anna Hazare burns copies of the government's Lokpal Bill

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'It is a national, not middle class, uprising'

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The BJP member of Parliament doesn't think it's just a middle class uprising. "It is very cynical to say it is a middle class uprising. It is a national uprising. All those farmers and labourers can't be dubbed as middle class. It's spontaneous, national uprising across caste and creed. The genesis of the Hazare movement is in the issue of corruption. The system's failure in dealing with corruption has brought people out on the streets. There is no present system which can bring accountability to powerful people," Gandhi said.

Asked about his comments on the controversial "means" of Team Anna to achieve their ends, Gandhi said, "I am worried about the future of this country. I am worried about the future generations of India. Because I am worried about them, I am proud to be serving in this movement in whatever small capacity I can."

When asked if he thinks it's a right-wing movement, Gandhi said, "It is a foolish accusation."

Image: Activists burn an effigy representing the United Progressive Alliance government during a rally in support of Hazare
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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