On Board Air India One: Assuring a bill soon for an effective Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the Anna Hazare movement had “served its purpose”, while also condemning the recent assaults on members of civil society.
“I will not like to use this opportunity to criticize any individual but I think the Anna Hazare movement has served its purpose,” the prime minister said on the way back from Pretoria aftere the India, Brazil South Africa Summit a day earlier.
The prime minister was asked separately if Ana Hazare and his team were singling out the Congress party over corruption in India and what he had to say about the recent assaults on lawyer Prashant Bhushan and activist Arvind Kejriwal.
“We are all working to ensure we have in place before long an effective Lokpal bill. It is our expectation parliament will vote for an effective bill. This will be an assurance to people at large that corruption cannot flourish as a way of life in our country.”
In the context of the attacks on Bhushan and Kejriwal, the prime minister sought to make it clear that democracy did not leave any room for violence on matters of varying opinions among people and that such acts needed to be condemned.
“I am absolutely clear nothing is gained by the pursuit of violence. Howsoever angry a person may be or feel, there are more civilized ways of expressing one’s anger and frustration,” the prime minister said.
He also denied any remark that led to a perception that he proposed a change in the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the light of its use or misuse to obtain some documents that had embarrassed his government on the telecom spectrum case.
“I never said there should be any dilution of the RTI Act. I think there are certain ways in which things can be done. All I had said was we should reflect how to achieve in totality the purposes for which the RTI was set up.”
On the larger issue of corruption he said it couldn’t be termed as inevitable fallout of growth. “We cannot take that view. That would be a very complacent view point,” the prime minister said.
“The recent debate in our country has served its purpose. It has awakened our country on the harmful consequences of corruption that is eating into the political, economic and social fabric of our society,” he said.
“Our government is committed to all that is necessary to clean up the system.”