Has Anna really come out a winner?

Opinion is divided among politicians, journalists and others with majority feeling that while the issue of corruption he projected may have drawn national attention, the methods he employed may not have been appreciated.

Some feel that the 74-year-old Gandhian has "achieved a lot" but they also question the methods used by him and his team which sometimes appeared to be undermining constitution and Parliament.

Hazare initially went on a hunger strike setting a deadline of August 30 for passage of civil society's Jan Lokpal Bill by Parliament without referring it to the Standing Committee.

The civil society had also sought inclusion of Prime Minister, higher judiciary and MPs conduct in Parliament within the purview of the bill but he settled for referring three of his key issue to the committee which will report back to Parliament.

Eminent jurist P P Rao and journalists Chandan Mitra and Vinod Mehta feel that Hazare did achieve a lot by getting Parliament to endorse three of his crucial demands in the Jan Lokpal Bill for consideration by Parliamentary Standing Committee.

MPs belonging to Congress and BSP feel the methods adopted by him were not appropriate, while SP leader Mohan Singh said the methods created a fear of scrutiny among the political class.

The politicians are one in that Parliament has prevailed over Hazare that it has not conceded any of his major demands but only referred some issues for scrutiny by the Standing Committee.

Rao and Mitra said Hazare was able to make Parliament commit itself to considering Lokpal Bill because with galloping corruption it was giving an impression that it was not concerned about it.

Mitra is of the opinion that Hazare forced government in Parliament to bring in a strong and effective Lokpal Bill which could not be done in the last 40 years.

Both of them feel it does not matter who won or who lost. There was a give and take and win-win on both sides. SP's Mohan Singh concurs on this issue.

But Mehta said Team Anna was using all sorts of tricks and used the life of a Gandhian to gain leverage. "To some extent, there is political blackmail by these civil society activists."
He feels that they can put pressure, give suggestions but can't dictate to Parliament. And this is what a lot of people think is a "dangerous trend".

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said he does not agree with the method adopted by Hazare to get his demand accepted.

People have a right to protest but threatening fast unto death for pushing their demands is not correct, he says.

Mitra feels that how to achieve the Lokpal Bill has been left to parliamentarians and Parliament which bodes well for democratic system.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who was critical of the media coverage of the Hazare campaign, and RJD MP Jagatanand Singh find nothing wrong in the Gandhian's agitation.

"No, it's not like that the agitation undermined parliamentary democracy. After all, it was a peaceful agitation against corruption and the agitation was for valid reasons," he said noting that corruption is a big issue.

Mohan Singh said while Hazare managed to channelise people's anger towards corruption, he failed to achieve much on his demand to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by him by Parliament by August 30.

The BSP on the other hand maintained that the Gandhian can "himself" answer on what he achieved by his agitation.

"It is for him to answer what he achieved.... BSP has always stressed that Constitution is supreme and no one was above it," party's leader in the Lok Sabha Dara Singh Chauhan said here.

He said whatever laws have to be framed for the "larger benefit of the people" should be made within the constitutional framework.

Senior Congress leader Anil Shastri, however found nothing wrong with the movement which he described as "massive movement against corruption".

"I do not think, Parliamentary democracy was undermined Hazare's agitation.... Supremacy of Parliament was not in any way affected by this," he said.

Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "I believe that both have won and no one has lost. The great thing about this event is that it a win win for all sections."

Taking the point further, RJD MP Jagtanand Singh said that people have a right to demand from Parliament and somebody is perfectly within his right to insist on it like Hazare did.

"How does it undermine Parliamentary democracy? They wanted their views to be included when Parliament makes law. Government realised it cannot ignore the voice of people in the streets and those leading people's agitation out there finally understood Parliamentary processes cannot be by-passed," he said. 

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