New Delhi: Activist Anna Hazare began an indefinite fast today in his village in Maharashtra, demanding the urgent introduction of a new anti-corruption law. In Delhi, the government said that it is committed to pushing through the legislation – the Lokpall Bill – in this session of Parliament which ends on December 20.
That announcement was made by union minister V Narayanasamy. According to the NDTV News The initiative will be attributed to the spectacular performance in the Delhi elections of the Aam Aadmi Party, whose founder Arvind Kejriwal partnered with Anna in 2011 to champion the Lokpal Bill, which creates a national ombudsman or Lokpal empowered to investigate charges of corruption against elected representatives and bureaucrats.
The Aam Admi Party landed 40% of Delhi’s seats in the recent state election, proving that voters, frustrated with endemic corruption, have accepted that Mr Kejriwal will deliver on his promise to battle graft.
In 2011, Anna and Mr Kejriwal engineered a huge anti-graft movement that electrified middle class India. The apogee of the campaign was a 16-day fast by Anna in Delhi which drew thousands of people everyday, and impelled street protests in other cities.
As Anna’s health deteriorated, a shaken parliament agreed to urgently introduce the new law. It cleared the Lok Sabha, but flopped in the Rajya Sabha, after which it has been amended by a parliamentary committee.
The new version will have to be introduced and passed by the Rajya Sabha and then the Lok Sabha. So far, this session of Parliament has seen no business being transacted; disruptions over issues like the creation of a Telangana state have led to daily adjournments.
Mr Kejriwal and Anna parted ways last year after the 44-year-old former tax inspector decided to launch the Aam Aadmi Party. Anna said he could not be associated with a political organization.