‘They have sold everything — coal, spectrum, hills, even a river’
Invoking the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, B.R. Ambedkar and Sardar Patel, India Against Corruption on Tuesday announced the launch of a party to provide “alternative politics for changing the system and giving power back to the people.”
However, IAC member Arvind Kejriwal did not disclose the name of the party, saying it had not been registered yet. The name of the party and its constitution and, possibly, the list of office-bearers would be announced at another function scheduled for November 26, Ambedkar Jayanti.
“This is the time for every one to stand up and be counted. You have to declare which side are you on. Are you with the present lot of politicians who have sold everything from coalmines, 2G spectrum, thorium, iron ore to dams, land, forests, hills and even a river, or are you with us, who are fighting to change this corrupt system before it is too late?” he asked. “We tried everything from ‘andolan’ and ‘anshan’ to pleadings with folded hands but nothing has worked with the present-day political leaders, so now we will fight to uproot these parties from power and change the system that corrupts.”
For starters, he declared halla-bol [battle cry] against the Sheila Dikshit government, which faces elections next year, for allowing a steep increase in power and water tariffs in the capital. He outlined a series of actions that included burning of the inflated bills and picketing the Chief Minister’s residence.
A nine-point ‘Vision Document,’ which talks of power to people, and judicial, police, bureaucracy and electoral reforms, was released. It says the winning candidates would not use red-beacon vehicles, will not live in huge bungalows and will shed security paraphernalia; not more than one member of a family will be given ticket to contest elections. People will decide the profit margins of products and futures trading in essentials will be banned to contain inflation. The party will have its own Lokpal to monitor any charge of corruption against members.
Anna Hazare, who was here on Monday, did not stay on to attend the function, prompting psephologist Yogendra Yadav — who shared the dais with IAC members — to remark that without the anti-corruption campaigner the team might take longer to win people’s trust. But looking at the enthusiastic crowds — mostly youth — who thronged the lawns of the Constitution Club, it appeared as though people had accepted the parting of ways between Mr. Hazare and IAC. I am Anna caps were replaced with those of I am aam aadmi and I want the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Mr. Yadav outlined the contours of an exhaustive system for selection of candidates for different tiers of governance.