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Updated: July 23, 2011 12:39 IST

‘Team Anna' to gauge public opinion on Lokpal Bill

Neha Alawadhi
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File photo of social activist Anna Hazare. Photo: S. Subramanium.
The Hindu File photo of social activist Anna Hazare. Photo: S. Subramanium.

Distributing questionnaire to all the Chandni Chowk constituents listed on the Election Commission's website

A volunteer based group, India Against Corruption, began a referendum on the Lokpal Bill in the Chandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency from Thursday to know public opinion on the proposed anti-corruption law.

The four-day-long exercise will see volunteers distribute optical mark recognition (OMR) forms at the residences of all constituents listed on the Election Commission's website. These volunteers will then collect the filled out forms from the constituents and run the filled forms through an OMR scanner to analyse the results.

“The idea is to have the true opinion of the people on the Bill. We have a list of 14 lakh people who we hope to approach within the constituency, but we have a realistic estimate of only half the number of filled forms coming back,” said India Against Corruption administrative member Bibhav Kumar on Friday.

On the first day, “Team Anna”, as the volunteers introduce themselves, covered nine wards of the constituency including Wazirpur, Nimri Colony, Dhirpur, Paschim Vihar (North), Paschim Vihar (South), Inderlok, Adarsh Nagar, Rampura and Model Town. By Friday, another 18 wards of the total 40 had been covered. The volunteers managed to distribute around 75,000 forms within the first two days.

The OMR forms have been printed in English, Hindi and Urdu, keeping in mind the predominant or preferred languages spoken by people in the constituency.

The referendum form has eight questions on various issues of the Lokpal Bill. Each question is followed by response options that include the proposals of the Government and Anna Hazare on the given issue, followed by the option to either disagree with both proposals or not have an opinion at all on the issue.

The response to the referendum oscillated between scepticism and hope for the Lokpal Bill. “The law must be the same for everyone, which is why Anna's campaign seems genuine. As soon as politics and religious considerations become part of the discussion, things start getting worse,” said Matia Mahal (Jama Masjid ward) resident Syed Mehtab Ali.

Another resident said the idea of a Jan Lokpal would increase confusion for people: “The Lokpal could very well become another platform that goes bust after the initial euphoria.”

The volunteers agreed that response to the referendum was “much better from the lower middle and middle class households, as compared to the high class households, where people were found to be more reluctant to the exercise”.

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