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Why Anna Calls It A Half Victory

New Delhi, Aug 28: After Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh read out the Prime Minister's letter at Ramlila Maidan on Saturay, Anna Hazare announced he was calling off his fast, and described it as a half
PTI August 28, 2011 13:29 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Aug 28: After Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh read out the Prime Minister's letter at Ramlila Maidan on Saturay, Anna Hazare announced he was calling off his fast, and described it as a half victory.In reality, the government has managed to get out of the crisis zone without offering much to Team Anna, says a media report.

Having rejected the government's version of the Lokpal bill that was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4 — and burnt its copies in public — the Anna Hazare camp had demanded nothing short of the passage of its own version, called the Jan Lokpal Bill, when Hazare's indefinite fast began on August 16.

Government's harakiri in arresting Hazare and putting him in Tihar jail — leading to an outpouring of support from the masses — only resulted in the civil society grouping hardening its position even further, as it put a deadline of August 30 within which it wanted the Parliament to convert the Jan Lokpal bill into a law.

What it finally got was just a resolution conveying the “in-principle agreement” of both Houses of Parliament to the three contentious provisions that the Anna camp definitely wanted to be included in the

Lokpal bill — to include the lower bureaucracy within the ambit of the Lokpal, establishment of Lokayuktas in states through the Lokpal bill, and a citizen's charter for all government employees.

There is no certainty as to whether the final bill, as recommended by the Standing Committee, would have the Prime Minister within the purview of the Lokpal, a key demand at the start of the agitation, though the government is said to have relented on this count.

The climbdowns from the hardline positions had been made at the protracted negotiations between Team Anna and the government after it became apparent that some of the demands were not just unworkable but also unconstitutional. In the end, a face-saving exit was all that could be won.

The reality was not lost on Hazare who described Saturday's development as only a “half victory.” “The complete victory is still to be won,” he said from the stage at Ramlila grounds after receiving a letter from the Prime Minister and a copy of the Parliament's resolution from Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

While continuing his fast at Ramlila Maidan, Team Anna had demanded: Pass the Jan Lokpal bill in its entirety, by August 30. Specifically, bring the office of the Prime Minister and higher judiciary within the ambit of Lokpal.

On Saturday it settled for : Inclusion of three provisions in the Lokpal bill—include lower bureaucracy, provide for simultaneous establishment of Lokayuktas in every state, and a citizens' charter defining the time in which a public service must be delivered.

And it finally got: A resolution expressing the “in-principle agreement” of both Houses of Parliament to these three provisions and to “transmit the proceedings” of the House to the Standing Committee dealing with the issue.The final shape of the bill would depend on the recommendations of the Standing Committee and the discussions in both Houses of Parliament after that.