Shiva Sena supports all three demands of Anna Hazare, BJD drags heel

The Shiva Sena, one of NDA’s biggest allies and a major player in Maharashtra, has declared its full support to the three demands raised by Anna Hazare.

Anant Geete, Shiv Sena MP from Raigarh in Maharashtra, expressed his party’s “total support” to the three points — bringing all bureaucrats under Lokpal, installing a citizen’s charter and grievance mechanism and stipulating state Lokayukta’s powers in the Lokpal bill.

Geete urged the MPs to be humble enough to realize the mood of the people and refuted those who said the creation of the Lokpal institution will be a draconian act.

“I believe we need that superpower. As a member of the NDA, we support all the three demands made by Anna,” Geete said.

He pointed out that people are justifiably angry about widespread corruption in India. “If people are disgusted by the corruption, they have good reason to be so. The way this campaign has got popular support, we can learn many things from it,” he said.

He pointed out that while the rich may shrug off corruption, it hits the poor and the middle class people very hard.

“The poorest of the poorest, whom we call the BPL, has no escape from corruption. If he wants to go for a BPL card, he has to bribe. If he goes to complain against the bribe demand at a police station, he has to pay another bribe to just register his complaint. It is the same with the middle class,” Geete said in a speech that was much appreciated in the Lok Sabha.

All the same, he warned against being rash. “We are making a super power-center, so we should not be rash. We must be careful. Even as we agree we need a strong law, we must also ensure the balance of our institutions are also maintained… The cure should not be worse that the illness,” he warned.

Meanwhile, another NDA ally, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) rejected the suggestion that the central law must lay down some guidelines or general rules for the formation of state-level Lokayuktas.

Striking a different note from most of the NDA partners, the BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab also warned against giving the Lokpal the right to punish, in addition to that of investigation. “My allies have said they support it (public grievance), but I have my doubts,” he said.