Members of Parliament opposed to the proposed amendment of the RTI Act have vowed to continue building pressure until the political class becomes accountable to the common citizen.
Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, who actively opposed the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2013, told The Hindu that the Bill should never have come up in Parliament.
“We need to be actively involved with this movement now. We cannot afford to take a breather. Activists and the younger generation, [who] actively mobilised people on the social media against the amendments, need to meet and strategise about how to take this forward,” he said.
“The time has come when political parties should leave this feudal mindset and wake up to a new emerging India. Accountability of the political class through the RTI is at the root of breaking the nexus of criminalisation of politics and black money,” Mr. Trivedi said.
The Biju Janata Dal’s Baijayant Panda, another MP who opposed the amendments, said all concerned citizens must stay engaged and regularly press political leaders.
“Who says public pressure doesn’t work?? Congrats to the many, many activists and citizens who spoke up, emailed, social networked [sic], and phoned political leaders,” Mr. Panda tweeted.
He, however, warned that the victory was only partial. “This is a proud day for Indian democracy... But please note, this is only one battle won, the war still continues!”
RTI pioneer Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, co-convenor of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, said this was the “first step forward”.
They gave credit to Mr. Trivedi and Mr. Panda, who built pressure on the political leadership that ultimately resulted in the Bill being sent to a parliamentary panel.
“It is going to be a huge collective effort to ensure that in the coming months, not a polarised debate but nuanced arguments are made to build a substantive political democratic discourse,” Ms. Roy said.
She highlighted the role of online campaigns and street protests. “One needs to bring every voice together in terms of protest on the streets, creating awareness and also mobilising opinion on the social media.”
Mr. Dey said it was triumph of Indian democracy. “It really is a day when Indian democracy has shown a little more maturity,” he said.