Anti-corruption crusade: Government miscalculated the ground realities

Getting Baba Ramdev in on Day 4 was brilliant, and timed with the statements by the Bajajs and Munjals added value which nobody could have predicted. The government totally miscalculated the rapid growth of the protests, not just in Delhi, but in the rest of the country. It could impact the forthcoming elections in various states, too

I was among a group of the Defence Colony Welfare Association Residents' Welfare Association-a mixed group of retired services personnel, professionals, home-makers and business-people-who joined in the protest against corruption, spearheaded by Anna Hazare, at Jantar Mantar, on Friday. The atmosphere there was vastly changed from what it was the previous day; not just because of the support from Baba Ramdev and Bollywood personalities like Farah Khan, Tom Alter and some others, in as much as there was a feeling that the government is on the back foot.

(Click here to see Kareena Kapoor and Mallika Sarabhai pledging support to Anna Hazare Courtesy: ANI, Sify.com)

If anything, the contingent of plain-clothes people, probably from an assortment of intelligence services, appeared even more worried, probably for having miscalculated the ground realities, as well as the strategic moves by the organizers. Getting Baba Ramdev in on Day 4 was brilliant, and timed co-terminus with the statements by the Bajajs and Munjals added value which nobody could have predicted. One particular gent, with whom I have developed a nodding acquaintanceship over the last few days, told me that they had totally miscalculated the rapid growth of the protests, not just in Delhi, but in the rest of the country. How it was likely to impact the forthcoming elections, too, in various states. And, how now not just the foreign press, but also diplomats were walking around openly.
 
The uniformed police and fire service personnel, on the other hand, looked even more relaxed and part of the milling crowds-it almost looked as though everybody had already figured out that these are our people, about each other. People were following instructions given by the local police and fire service and their ambulance services were parked strategically. Even the much-reviled Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Corporation did their part-the mobile public toilets are an example in cleanliness, with some sanitation workers on duty explaining that this was one duty they were going to make sure was impeccable. And for the first time we saw what looked like off-duty armed forces people in fatigues walking around, without any of that uniformed self-consciousness that sometimes accompanies such events.
 
This has on one side grown into a nation-wide people's movement, that's not so much about a Lokpal Bill which people do not understand, or a man variously being referred to as hazaar, hazaara, hazaroo, hazra or something similar, but more about people now wanting an end to corruption across all levels. On the other side, the rumour mills were working overtime, with all sorts of stories about such and such leader having run away abroad, or the government planning stern reprisal, and then what happens next. Some were even asking why Shobhaa De, for example, has not been seen of or heard from lately!

A couple of major questions on the minds of protestors were 'how do we go about courting arrest' and 'what other methods will we use to make sure this is a success too'. Some volunteers on the fourth day of their fast were taken away to hospital; others appeared as resolute as before. The percentage of women in the crowd seemed to have gone up, and so too the visible number of wealthier and upper middle-class people. Also, people appeared to have reacted with disappointment to the statement by Mohandas Pai of Infosys that he did not want to say anything about corruption in India. Bajaj and Munjal, on the other hand, were cheered through some hand-written posters.
 
It is encouraging to see the number of people present going up multiples, this despite the cricket frenzy that has not ebbed. The whole of Jantar Mantar, from the Ashoka Road end to Tolstoy Marg end, is barricaded and converted into a walking-only zone. This is a stretch of 1.5 km, a change from the 50 metres space that was initially alloted on one side of Jantar Mantar Road. The special space I had on top of the South Indian Snack Centre is now totally occupied by many others who have discovered the place. Barring the few people sitting in front, at Jantar Mantar, the rest of the area is "standing room only".

My advice to those who want to go to Jantar Mantar is to head there early in the morning. Make your presence felt. Get counted, now. Where the movement will eventually lead may not be entirely clear yet, but it cannot get any worse than what the government has already brought matters to-now, things can only improve.

Comments
RNandakumar
1 decade ago
Anna Hazare and his group could only give guidance. But he cannot afford to be everywhere. Some basic acts by the people would help these noble efforts to bear fruit. We all must insist on registering the houses on its true value of payment without undervaluing it for saving registration cost. We should insist on bill for all the purchases we make. Small shops little amount purchase excuses should be avoided. Decipline ourselves to wait for our turn be it a que for your ticket or the latest model diesel car. Politicians exploit our inability to cope with the rules and we are the reason why and how he thrives. Our soeciety should first inculcate the habit of following rules. Then under the anti corruption and RTI acts we can hook the politicians.
Vinay Isloorkar
1 decade ago
12.4.11
What is that subtle jab about Shoba De? Pl educate.

Vinay isloorkar
malq
Replied to Vinay Isloorkar comment 1 decade ago
Thank you for writing in. For a short while the rumour mills in Delhi were working overtime about how certain people were moving out of India with their money - and that it was largely the page-3 set doing so . . . for some reason the High Priestess of Blah's name came into the running.
Vinay Isloorkar
Replied to malq comment 1 decade ago
12.4.11

Hi Priestess of Blah! Chuckle! Chuckle! She has competition from La Tavleen.
nagesh kini
1 decade ago
The powers that be grossly underestimated the Peoples' Power.

That the Aam Admi, having lost his patience, calling enough is enough simply joined into to give the clarion call that corruption by any name ghoos, chai pani, graft, speed money or facilitation fees will not be countenanced and immediate enactment of demanded the the long lost Lok Pal Bill that shoved in the Parliament's cold storage for 42 long years and enacted in consultation with Civil Society to cover the high and mighty like the PM, big babus and judiciary..
Roopsingh
1 decade ago
To me the root cause of corrupt politicians and beaurocrats is the huge amount of money collected by govt in various names which simply is TAX-this taxed or KHANDNI (LOOTED )has grown exponential in recent years-and people are paying for no proper use of it-the actual use of this taxed or looted money is used to GHAR BHARO of these corrupt people-
so i would ask people and Mr Anna Hazare to start a movement asking people not to give tax to these corrupt govt-once this agitation starts and people start asking fro proper accounting for their hard earned money-corruption will dramatically reduce-
so presently i HATE to pay taxes -and i advice people not to pay their hard earned money if possible-evade the taxes-
because it is fuelling the coruption.
Valerian Texeira
1 decade ago
the anti corruption legislations put forward by Anna Hazare and his team including the Jan Lokpal Bill cannot control most of the corruptions in India in any significant way mainly because majority of corruptions leave no concrete evidences or its foot print records to prosecute them under the law court however stringent may be the punishment “IF convicted”! Therefore it becomes almost impossible to convict and punish the majority 90% (if not 99%) of its perpetrators even when charged they are mostly set free by the courts for lack of concrete corruption evidences. Also they have lots of corruption money to buy expensive lawyers or appeal to the higher courts. If you fight against corruption without the concrete evidence you will loose if you accept corruption you will hugely gain and make more money. The common man knows this too well therefore forced to choose the second option by submitting or accepting the corruption as the way of life!

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DETER THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE FORM ENGAGING IN CORRUPTION, FIRST OF ALL YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE THAT THE CONCRETE EVIDENCE OF EVERY CORRUPTION CRIME (BASICALLY ILLICIT MONEY TRANSACTION) GETS RECORDED EVERY TIME AND EVERYWHERE WHEN IT HAPPENS. If anyone wants to know more about this search for my blog in the <.blogspot.com>
malq
Replied to Valerian Texeira comment 1 decade ago
Thank you for writing in. I think many of us believe that it is the little drops that add up. Many routes, same destination. Please stay in touch with the IAC movement.
B Rajaram
1 decade ago
Practically every corrupt guy would sign sign such pledge and join the bandwagon so that this uncalled for public attention to their day tot day peaceful profitable business of administering governance, is taken care of and boxed in.

10 Janpath also supported. so DMRC also supports. The DMK too supports and with Congress BJP and every party supporting who is opposing?

Anaa goes home and will struggle with thousands of papers putting a comma and afull stop and the bill will not see the day of light so long as some teeth are suspected to be present to hurt the corrupt.

A murderer is innocent till proven. Many murderers may escape under law but one innocent man should not be punished.

Similalrly this law in implementation will see that many a corrupt may escape with honour but one suspected innocent shall be protected.

Poor goodman Anna will have to agree.

One thing Government will not do is web based transparent open governance in real time making the last three steps prior to deciding available in public domain.

We are fooled once gain.
malq
Replied to B Rajaram comment 1 decade ago
Thank you for writing in. Let us all be positive and hope for better days. You can do your part, too.
Jyoti
1 decade ago
Two NGO's viz.Art of Living of Sri Sri Ravishankar and Bharat Swabhiman of Baba Ramdev played very important role in mobilizing YOUTHS of the country .Social networking sites were also used in innovative way, so due to pressure 24 X 7 news channels were left with no option but to cover this event extensively.At the end of the day these factors were responsible for its success at the end of the day. In the coming days all this factors will be debated.
malq
Replied to Jyoti comment 1 decade ago
Thank you for writing in. We need to do more than debate. Please do your bit NOW.
Mumbai Indian
1 decade ago
I beg to differ from your conclusion. This kind of movements have stopped to influence elections since the Emergency. Remember, after 26/11, there was big hue and cry in Mumbai. Lakhs of people were there on the streets, candle marches etc and everybody was thinking that this would affect the election outcome. What happned? NOTHING. Only 44% people voted in that election. This is the reason why all politicians have become so thick skinned. And they are the only candidates who can even think about contesting and winning any election. Common people can't. In today's situation, even to lose an election, one needs at least 5 crore rupees.
Java
Replied to Mumbai Indian comment 1 decade ago
The Jan Lokpal Bill is the first of many planned steps already articulated by Anna Hazare and his team. Electoral reforms is one of these, Anna Hazare specifically talked about the right to vote for "None of these candidates", which, if selected by a majority, would result in declaring the election void and make all those candidates ineligible for the re-poll that would have to be held. He also talked about the right to recall elected representatives and the devolution of power to the local bodies.
Bhavesh Damania
Replied to Java comment 1 decade ago
Hi Jaya,
Can you explain the point in detail pls..you seems to have brought differnt dimnesion to the activity which masses are not aware of.
CommonAadmi
Replied to Bhavesh Damania comment 1 decade ago
Dear Bhavesh, If you are really interested please listen to a 2 hour speech given in October 2010. The link is: http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-zTVhTbRk
This is lengthy I know, and ignore the first ten minutes of this speech but this is whole plan from the Horse's mouth for going forward. Thats all I can say.
malq
Replied to CommonAadmi comment 1 decade ago
Thank you all for writing in. And thank you for the views too, as well as the link.
Free Helpline
Legal Credit
Feedback