The CPI(M) has taken exception to remarks made by Anna Hazare during his campaign for Lokpal Bill that Indian voters cast their votes for a Rs 100 note or a bottle of alcohol, terming it as “bizarre” and saying such “disdain and contempt” for parliamentary democracy was “disturbing”.

Though committing itself to the passage of a Lokpal Bill for which Mr. Hazare went on a hunger strike, the party criticised the social activist for his remarks and also found Union Minister Kapil Sibal’s comment seeking to counterpoise development versus the Lokpal Bill “equally bizarre”.

In an editorial in party mouthpiece Peoples’ Democracy, the CPI(M) said to a question on why he is not entering Parliament to be a part of the law making process, Mr. Hazare replied in a “bizarre fashion” that he would never seek to contest an election because he would lose, indeed forfeit his deposit.

The party quoted the Gandhian as saying that the “ordinary voter does not have awareness. They cast their vote under the influence of Rs 100 or a bottle of liquor, or a saree offered by the candidates. They don’t understand the value of their vote.”

“Such utter disdain for the voter and contempt for parliamentary democracy is indeed disturbing...This cannot be allowed,” the editorial said.

“Whenever there was a challenge to India’s secular democratic character, it was this very voter that upheld and safeguarded the vision of a modern India. It was this very voter that defeated Indira Gandhi’s emergency regime and reestablished democracy with such vigour that it has now become inseparable with Indian reality.

”...When secularism appeared to be under threat it was this very voter who surprised everybody and blew to dust the pompous conception of a shining India by defeating the BJP-led NDA in the 2004 general elections.

“Without this voter, India today may not have been what it is and could well have been robbed of the vibrancy that amongst more important attributes, allows candle-light protests and huger strikes,” it said.

On the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, the party said, “Irrespective of how this will unfold, the fact remains that in the background of the exposure of mega scams at rapid frequent intervals, the need for an effective legislation that should make the principle of accountability meaningful and tangible becomes all the more imperative.”

Noting that the concept of the Lokpal was first suggested by an Administrative Reforms Committee in 1969 headed by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, the party said that it had time and again raised the issue.

“We would have to wait for this committee’s draft to be brought before the Parliament for its consideration.

According to our constitutional scheme of things, it is the Parliament and Parliament alone that can enact laws.

“The Left is committed to the enactment of a law that is both effective, transparent, covers all sections and probes all angles in its ambit to prevent corruption,” the editorial said.

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