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Govt can't ignore the public mood
Do you think a Lokpal is the answer to the problem of corruption?
What else do we have? For me, the issues are very simple. No one has been punished for corruption in India. Do we want corrupt people to go to jail in a time-bound manner? If the answer is yes, then we need an agency that can ensure this. At the moment, we don't have any agency that works in an honest manner. All our anti-corruption bodies, like the CVC or CBI, are either ineffective or corrupt.
Can the Lokpal that you are proposing eradicate corruption completely?
I'm not saying that corruption will be removed 100 per cent. But it will be an effective deterrent - that is important. The experience in all other countries has shown that deterrence works. It instills fear in the minds of people.
Isn't corruption too complex an issue to be tackled so simplistically?
Of course. We also need electoral reforms, police reforms and judicial reforms. The government must give up the discretionary powers it enjoys. We are going to take all these issues up later. The important thing is to start the fight against corruption with the creation of the Lokpal.
Do you think the government will give in to your demands under pressure from the street?
They will have to give in with the kind of support we have generated. We ourselves are amazed at the response we are getting. How can the government ignore the public mood?
Your bill takes on politicians who ultimately have to pass it in Parliament. What kind of political support do you think you will get?
There has never been this kind of public demand for a strong and effective Lokpal to fight corruption. Let's see which political party can oppose the will of the people.
How far do you intend to take this fight?
It's a long battle. Setting up a joint committee with civil society participation to draft the Lokpla bill is just the beginning.
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