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'Adapt or perish'
Anna's movement against corruption reflects everyone's concern. The political class must look at the seriousness of the issue. We have to be sensitive to the voice of the people. Maybe I come from an urban constituency so I feel strongly about it but I think the concern about corruption has percolated down to the grassroots level. Today, there is a divide between government and people. There is an "us and them" feeling that has developed and this is a dangerous trend. People can't do without government and governments can't function without people. Once we understand this, we can address issues better. Today we are saying that Parliament is supreme but we ourselves have contributed to the perception of its irrelevance with frequent disruptions and adjournments. Often, we don't even discuss bills or have proper debates. I truly believe that the time has come for change.
PRIYA DUTT | 45, CONGRESS Constituency: Mumbai North Central
There is a strong anti-politician mood in the country, which Anna has managed to channelize. Either we recognise this mood and adapt, or perish. I think this is a moment in history. We need a total revamp of the system, a radical surgery. Tinkering won't help at this stage. Corruption is not the only issue. If we have to cleanse the system, we should start with electoral reforms. It shouldn't be impossible for good people to get into politics. We also need to make Parliament more effective. We don't have debates any more and if we do, then we are bound by whips. We need more democracy within political parties themselves! I can sense the churning within the political class now. And I feel a change is coming.
JYOTI MIRDHA | 39, CONGRESS Constituency: Nagaur, Rajasthan
I believe there is an enormous feeling in people that something has broken within the system. They feel that power has been abused, fiscally, politically and even legally. And this feeling goes right down to the bottom. I was on my way to my constituency recently and I had to take a detour. In a village in the middle of nowhere, I found a group of around 200 women squatting on the ground, waving the flag of India and chanting "Anna Hazare zindabad, bhrashtachar murdabad. " And they congratulated me for taking up the cause of the Jan Lokpal bill. We are a country searching for heroes. Anna has come like a blinding light. He is an iconic figure. We now have an opportunity for course correction. The nation has a chance to change the way our democracy functions. If the political class doesn't seize the moment, it will be detrimental for all of us. And if we do manage to cleanse the system, maybe honest people can win elections. Think what an amazing game changer that would be.
VARUN GANDHI | 31, BJP Constitutency: Pilibhit, UP
Everyone is against corruption and if people are out on the streets protesting against it, we have to listen to them. We are elected by the people. It doesn't matter what parties we belong to or which constituencies we represent. We have to take into account people's views. We must have a dialogue with them. The issue of corruption is not just an urban concern. It permeates down to rural areas. Politicians must have a cleaner image and be more transparent.
DUSHYANT SINGH | 38, BJP Constitutency: Jhalawar-Baran, Rajasthan
Parties must reflect on what is happening. This is a turning point for Indian politics as practised so far. Politicians will have to become more accountable to people and more representative of society as a whole. The movement is not merely an urban phenomenon. The voices coming out are in the cities but the issue of corruption affects rural India too. I hope the political class is beginning to understand the importance of what is happening out there. Arrogance will not be accepted by the people any longer.
KALIKESH SINGH DEO | 37, BJD Constituency: Bolangir, Orissa
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