A day after Parliament approved the landmark Lokpal bill, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said movements like that of Anna Hazare have opened new dimensions of democratic structure suggesting that they cannot be brushed aside.
In extempore remarks made during the annual endowment lecture of Intelligence Bureau in New Delhi, he referred to the conventional thought of democracy which meant periodical elections and review of performance of the Government but that has changed now.
“Just 10 years ago nobody could think of the social activists, non-governmental organizations...they will not only demand that a particular piece of legislation is to be enacted to protect the interest of the people as they perceive but they insist that you have to adopt this model, this structure.
“We shall have to agree and if we cannot....keep it under carpet...These are the types of challenges which we are facing today,” he said in an apparent reference to the adoption of the Lokpal bill for which a spirited campaign was mounted by Mr. Hazare in the last over two years.
Referring to Mr. Hazare’s movement, Mr. Mukherjee said when it was at its height more than two years ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to head Group of Minister to have negotiations with the anti-corruption campaigner.
He said he was even asked during a trip in Vietnam as to how he would respond to that movement.
Maintaining that he was responding as a student of politics, he said “it is opening new dimensions of our democratic structure which we shall have to address and what is that new dimension.”
Earlier, he said, it was thought that democracy meant people would choose their elected representatives who will make legislations for them and administer for them. At the end of that stipulated period “we shall have an account from them how have we been successful or not”.