The Anna Hazare movement should have extended its activities to rural India where people are worst-affected by corruption, the former Judge of the Supreme Court, Santhosh Hegde, has said.
In an exclusive interview with The Hindu here on Thursday, Mr. Hegde said the anti-corruption movement should have been a long-range affair kept alive through frequent protests. Its target should not have been Delhi-2013.
Though the election manifesto presented by former team-Anna member Arvind Kejriwal was ‘very good,’ and though he may even win a few seats in the Delhi polls, the corruption travails of the rural masses still remained unaddressed. Mr. Kejriwal’s initiative was ‘unrealistic,’ he said.
“From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to Nagaland, who has the infrastructure to fight in today’s election process. To get that kind of money is difficult and even (Kejriwal’s) current donors are not going to provide the resources that is required,” he said. The history of political parties in India shows that it is not easy establish a pan-India party which contests elections, he pointed out.
The public never lost interest in the Anna movement as believed by many, particularly after the protest in Mumbai, he said. “The support base for Anna stayed the same. While thousands appeared on the streets cheering Anna as we moved from Juhu Beach to Bandra, there were very few present to sit with us at the ‘maidan.’ Most of the people supporting us belonged to a middle-class section and were preoccupied with commitments of their own and cannot come every now and then to sit with us for days on end,” he said.
Though the institution of the Lok Pal would no doubt be effective, the institution by itself cannot do what it is intended to. “It is not only the institution, it is not only the law, but it is essential to factor in the effectiveness of the people manning it. We have to find somebody who is not afraid and is not dictatorial,” he said. A consistent effort to appoint such persons to the Lok Pal ‘would succeed in bringing about tremendous changes.’
As Lok Ayuktha in Karnataka, I had seen up close several instances of grave injustice. “I have no plans to enter politics. People entering politics is their matter. But, personally, politics is something that is not my cup of tea. The whole system I hate and all the political parties as well,” he added.