Win back trust, send the best to parliament: Ashwani Kumar (Interview)April 14th, 2011 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) People have a growing distrust of politics and to regain faith, political parties should choose their best candidates for parliament, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ashwani Kumar has said.
There is a need to strengthen the foundations of democracy in the country in the wake of growing scepticism about political processes, Kumar told IANS in an interview.
“It is true and also unfortunate that there is a growing distrust among people with politics and its processes. We need to regain their faith in the institution of parliamentary democracy and its processes,” said Kumar, who is also minister of state for science and technology and planning.
The minister agreed that there was growing scepticism among the people when asked if the outpouring of public support for social activist Anna Hazare’s fast in the capital for a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal Bill reflected a disdain for politicians.
He said a vibrant, liberal democracy is a glowing achievement of free India and there is need to strengthen its foundations.
“The effort should be to ensure that political parties choose their best people to enter parliament,” he said.
Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar in the national capital April 5 had sparked off a nationwide wave of public anger against corruption when people from all walks of life came out in support of the 73-year-old crusader.
Asked if the countrywide agitation forced the government to accept Hazare’s demands, Kumar, 58, said, “Fighting corruption cannot be seen as a partisan or a political agenda.”
“It is a national agenda and there is total unanimity in fighting corruption,” he said.
Kumar said there could be a difference in terms of provisions of the bill and the manner in which it has to be enacted.
“We now have to move forward and take such initiatives that would make the Lokpal Bill credible and effective,” the minister said.
According to Kumar, Anna Hazare ended his 97-hour fast due to total cooperation from the government on his demands and support of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leadership.
Hazare ended his fast April 9 after the government accepted his demand for a new drafting committee for the Lokpal Bill with half of its members coming from civil society.
The veteran reformer, along with several other prominent citizens, is pushing for a strong Lokpal Bill that will have provisions for time-bound investigation and trial of corruption cases and stringent punishment for the guilty.
Asked about the turf war between the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the probe into the 2G spectrum allocation controversy, Kumar said that the two panels should not consider themselves as encroaching on the other’s domain.
“The mandate of the PAC is defined by the conventions of parliament as also by the constitution and parliament rules. The JPC has its mandate clearly spelt out in the resolution of parliament which brought it into existence,” he said.
Kumar, who is a Congress parliamentarian from Punjab, said the chairmen and members of both the committees were “sufficiently senior and experienced to perform their duties in the specified parameters”.
“The Speaker, I believe, has already advised the chairmen of the two committees accordingly,” he said.
(Prashant Sood can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Team Anna wants conduct of MPs in Lokpal Bill - Nov 03, 2011
- All-party meeting called on Lokpal as Hazare targets Congress (Roundup) - Dec 11, 2011
- Congress terms Anna's fast premature, insult to parliament - Dec 11, 2011
- Hazare threatens another fast from Aug 16 (Second Lead) - Jun 16, 2011
- Government, Team Hazare in major confrontation - Aug 15, 2011
- Nation at crossroads, discuss Lokpal issue dispassionately: Pranab (Lead) - Aug 27, 2011
- Desperate PM asks Anna to end fast, talks open (Roundup) - Aug 23, 2011
- Government, Team Anna meet, Anna fasts on (Second Intro Roundup) - Aug 24, 2011
- This Lokpal bill is useless, says Bhushan - Aug 04, 2011
- Lokpal weak spots can be overcome through debate: activist - Dec 26, 2011
- Rajya Sabha members want stronger measures against graft - Aug 25, 2011
- Chronology of an epochal fast - Aug 28, 2011
- Anna slams Lokpal bill, vows fast from Aug 16 (Second Lead) - Aug 11, 2011
- Anna to meet parliamentary panel, says Lokpal Bill eyewash (Lead) - Aug 10, 2011
- Our fight is for changing system, not power: Team Anna (Lead) - Aug 03, 2012
Tags: agitation, anna hazare, ashwani, disdain, distrust, free india, liberal democracy, mantar, minister of state, national agenda, outpouring, parliamentary affairs, parliamentary democracy, political agenda, political processes, public anger, scepticism, social activist, unanimity, walks of life