Anna Hazare is readying for a nationwide tour next month on the 17 points of action he considers essential to change the country. In this Idea Exchange moderated by Consulting Editor Seema Chishti, the activist says that AAP has not met his expectations and that he is ready to back for PM post Mamata Banerjee, who has responded positively to issues he is raising. The Idea Exchange was conducted before Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation.
ANNA HAZARE: The Lok Sabha elections are around the corner. Does the Constitution state anywhere that elections must be fought between political parties? The Constitution does not mention party anywhere. The Constitution says that we are a ‘democratic republic’. People should elect their candidates — individuals, not groups. Why is the country witnessing so much corruption? Because groups have entered Parliament. Groups are sitting inside as well as outside Parliament. And when someone speaks against corruption, these groups attack him. Corruption would not have increased if individuals had entered Parliament. It is called the Lok Sabha, and so, it should be the people’s house. As per the Constitution, the Lok Sabha should consist of individuals elected by people. Today, the Lok Sabha is a house of parties, and not public. The result is that 70-80 people from the same party sit in Parliament and only three or four of them talk. The rest only listen. This is not democracy. Democracy means ‘of the people’, ‘by the people’. Even after 66 years of Independence, where is democracy? In 1950, the public was given ownership of the country. The treasury belongs to the public. Its planning and expenditure should happen as per people’s wishes. But these days the public has no idea about it and, because of this, corruption has gone up and development has gone down. I have been fighting for 35 years now. Seven laws were made in Maharashtra. The RTI was passed in Maharashtra first and then in the country in 2005. Now the Lokpal has been brought in and in some places, Lokayuktas have been appointed. To stop corruption, we need more laws like the right to reject and right to recall. We need to give more power to gram sabhas. This fight will continue. I will start touring the country from March. I have just toured Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh — 50,000 km in six months. No one is giving me any grant for this, there is no income from this. I have attended 500 sabhas. I keep a bag and tell people to put Rs 10 or 20 in it. That takes care of the expenditure. I …continued »