Posts Tagged ‘Bharatiya Janata Party

It is a long journey ahead: Kejriwal

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‘We want to pressure the government and assert our rights as citizens.’

Arvind Kejriwal received the Magsaysay award in the Emergent leadership category in 2006. A mere five years later, he has far surpassed that milestone, winning acclaim and notice for the way he conceived and crafted Anna Hazare‘s anti-corruption movement. He talks to Vidya Subrahmaniamabout the Jan Lokpal campaign, what it accomplished and why it often became controversial.

The scale and spread of the Anna movement have baffled many. How did this happen?

A movement cannot be created out of nothing. In this case, anger against corruption was at the point of eruption. Then two things happened. One, instead of merely echoing the anger, the Jan Lokpal Bill (JLB) offered a solution. Second, Anna emerged as a credible leader at a time of huge leadership crisis in politics. See, people did not understand the details of the JBL. They simply saw it as a “dawai” [medicine] for corruption. It is the combination of a solution and a figure like Anna — who lived in a temple with no assets — that clicked.

When we conducted referendums on the JLB, we used to try and explain its contents to people. But they said they did not want to understand the details. They just wanted to put a mohar [stamp] on Anna.

How did you communicate your message to such a large number of people?

Technology played a key role in this. When in January this year, India Against Corruption (IAC) member Shivendra suggested to us that we use Facebook to publicise our rallies, I dismissed it saying Facebook has a limited, urban following. But Shivendra went ahead. We had planned a single rally on January 30 at the Ramlila Maidan. But because we connected on Facebook, we were able to conduct simultaneous rallies in 64 cities. SMS texting also played a critical role. Our SMS communication was designed very intelligently. A company in Mumbai suggested we ask for missed calls as a mark of solidarity. Missed calls cost nothing. In March, we sent out two crore SMS messages and got 50,000 missed calls. Then we targeted the 50,000 callers, asking if they would like to enrol as volunteers for IAC. Initially 13 people responded. We sent two more rounds of messages to the 50,000 callers. And in just one week, the number of volunteers swelled to 800.

Surely television played a disproportionate role in projecting the movement.

TV certainly helped, both when Anna sat on a fast at Jantar Mantar and then at Ramlila Maidan. But the media cannot create a moment. They can at best magnify it. The crowds at Ramlila and the crowds that followed him when he left for Medanta hospital were not manufactured.

There have been reports of dissensions within the Anna camp. Also that the deadlock was broken only because Congress/government negotiators spoke directly to Anna.

Anna appointed Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and me to negotiate with the government. One day I was very tired and Kiran was also not around. So, Medha and Prashant went for the meeting. The next thing we hear [from the media] is that Kiran and I have been sidelined, that we are hardliners, and we are deliberately preventing Anna from breaking his fast. This was disinformation by the government.

You started with the maximalist position of “Jan Lokpal Bill by August 30 and any amendments only with Anna’s permission.” From that to accepting a “sense-of-the-house” resolution that was not voted upon — wasn’t it a climbdown?

When we started on August 16, there was such an overwhelming response that we thought the government would agree to our demands. People wanted the JLB. After a few days we realised that there was a serious leadership crisis in the government — negotiators were constantly backing off. In the last three days of the fast, it happened four times. The Prime Minister made a conciliatory statement, Rahul Gandhi went off on a tangent. Salman Khurshid, Medha and Prashant sat together and drafted a resolution. Next day [August 27], at 1.30 p.m., Salman said no resolution. It became clear to us that what we wanted — Parliament voting on a resolution containing Anna’s three demands — was not going to happen. Therefore we had to change our strategy.

Are you satisfied with the resolution that was adopted? It is not categorical and leaves escape clauses.

We are satisfied because it contains Anna’s three demands. It will not be easy for the Standing Committee to renege on Parliament’s commitment. We will be keenly watching the Committee’s proceedings and the MPs also ought to know that they are on watch. I know, of course, that it is a long journey ahead.

Kiran Bedi told a TV channel that at one point when all seemed lost, a miracle happened: L.K. Advani called her and gave her his word that a solution will be reached by the following evening [August 27]. She also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which until then was ambiguous on the JLB, changed its stand and offered full support to Anna.

We met the leaders of the main political parties thrice and as part of this we also met Mr. Advani. However, we have been clear that no BJP leader or leader of any communal organisation will share the stage with us. This is the decision of our core committee. As for Kiran talking about Mr. Advani, please put that question to her.

So are you an apolitical movement?

No, we are political but we are concerned with people’s politics. The movement will always remain outside of political parties and outside of electoral politics.

You will not float a political party?

No, never. We don’t need to get into the system to fight it. We want to pressure the government and assert our rights as citizens. Everyone who has a dream need not get into politics.

Doubts have been raised about the credentials of those who have donated money to IAC. Sometime ago, a citizens’ group from Hyderabad wrote to you saying it was shocked to see some very discredited names in your list of donors.

A number of people have contributed money to the Anna movement. There is complete transparency from our side. Our receipts and expenditure are transparent. But we have no mechanism to go into the antecedents of our donors. And donations are streaming in, making it impossible to keep track. If there is a glaring case, we will certainly investigate it. I know, for instance, that there has been talk of the Jindal group. But those who donated to IAC are from Sitaram Jindal, not the Jindal mining group.

Your entire fight is about transparency and accountability. One of your NGOs, Public Cause Research Foundation, received donations on behalf of IAC and issued receipts in its name. But until August 29, there was no mention of Anna or the donations on the PCRF website.

That is an oversight. We will immediately update the website and provide a link to IAC.

Another of your NGOs, Kabir, received grants from the Ford Foundation (FF). According to the FF, Kabir received $172,000 in 2005 and $197,000 in 2008. The FF also sanctioned an “in-principle” grant of $200,000 for 2011, which you have not accepted so far. Why does Kabir not mention the FF and these specific details on its website?

We did not give the specific details because we also got some other NRI contributions and these were clubbed together. I will make sure that the website gives the break-up.

Fears have been expressed about the form of mobilisation we saw over the last four months. There was anger and impatience and, some would say, coercion in your methods. During the Ram Rath yatra, too, the BJP said people were angry because the mandir had not been built for 40 years. Aren’t you setting a worrying precedent?

The two situations are not comparable. One was communal and divisive and went against the grain of the Constitution. We are not asking for anything illegal. Our demands resonate with the people and our movement has been unifying, non-violent and entirely within rights given by the Constitution. What is wrong if people demand a strong law against corruption? What is wrong if they ask for the Jan Lokpal Bill?

Why did you ask for Parliamentary due process to be suspended? You didn’t want the JLB to go to the Standing Committee.

The JLB was drafted after wide consultations; it underwent many revisions based on feedback. Where is this kind of discussion in the drafting of anysarkari Bill? The purpose of the Standing Committee is to take multiple views on board. But not all Bills reach the Standing Committee, and in 90 per cent of the cases, the government does not accept the Committee’s recommendations. So why the fuss only for JLB which has been widely discussed and debated?



Ministers, MPs face ‘aam aadmi’ protest

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People protesting for Jan-Lokpal Bill supporting Anna Hazare

Top ministers, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some MPs on Monday faced protests on the issue of the Lokpal Bill after people gathered in front of their houses here following a call by Anna Hazare.

People protested in front of the residences of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Ms. Dikshit and some MPs.

The first to face the ire of people was Mr. Sibal. Around 40 protesters staged a protest outside his Teen Murti residence seeking his support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The protests came following Mr. Hazare’s call to stage demonstrations outside the residences of ministers and MPs to ask them their stand on the Lokpal bill.

“We have come here to request Sibal to support the Jan Lokpal Bill. This is a good bill and everybody should support it,” a protester outside Sibal’s Teen Murti residence said.

On Sunday evening also several people had gathered outside the residence of Mr. Sibal and shouted slogans against him. They left before the police could come to the spot.

People also gathered outside the Talkatora residence of Mr. Mukherjee, who was member of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill along with Mr. Sibal, and shouted slogans against the government.

Police was deployed outside their residences.

Protesters also staged demonstrations outside Dikshit’s Motilal Nehru Road residence. They shouted slogans against the Chief Minister and also mentioned the CAG report on Commonwealth Games.

A protest was also held outside BJP MP Ashok Argal’s residence.


Hectic preparations at Ramlila Maidan

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People Supporting Anna Hazare's Fast

With social activist Anna Hazare all set to move to the Ramlila Maidan here on Friday, hectic preparations were under way on Thursday with members and volunteers associated with main organiser ‘India Against Corruption’, along with the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), all pitching in to do their bit to get the show rolling.

The police had, however, cordoned off all entry points on Thursday to prevent protesters from moving into the ground while it was still being prepared. Apart from a huge shamiana to cover one-third of the ground, facilities such as fans, lights, loudspeakers and security arrangements were on the agenda of the organisers. Arrangements also include a two-level special stage. While Mr. Hazare would sit on the top level provided with a mattress, the stage below has been earmarked for singing and discourse. Other arrangements include mats to cover the floor and provide seating space and a separate enclosure for VIP guests including two VIP toilets.

The MCD is ensuring that the ground is completely cleaned, dried and levelled, given the slush following the recent heavy rain. The organisers are arranging for tents, food, water and toilet facilities, either by roping in contractor agencies or seeking help from volunteering organisations who have offered free assistance to Mr. Hazare’s supporters till the hunger protest ends.

Deputy Mayor Anil Sharma, who visited the ground to take stock of the arrangements and discuss preparations with Team Anna, said that over half of the ground had been cleaned and the civic body officials and employees would work overnight to complete as much work as possible. “It was only on Thursday morning that the MCD came to know about the approval given to Team Anna for holding the protest at Ramlila Maidan. On reaching the ground, the officials noticed [that] the heavy rain during the past few days had made the ground muddy, requiring co-ordination of different departments including engineering, horticulture, and sanitation to take up the cleaning, drying, and levelling process of the venue by putting additional malba and soft earth at the ground,” he said.

Hazare supporter-cum-volunteer Gulab Singh, 41, said: “After having participated in the Ramlila during Navratri at this very ground for the past 20 years, I consider it my good fortune to be getting a chance to serve my part in Anna Hazare’s protest that is being organised here. I have taken a week-long leave from office to come here and extend my support to the cause of ending corruption in India.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party would also be providing one lakh water pouches daily for the participants, according to the Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta who was present at the ground.

Undertaking fumigation

According to the civic body, it is also undertaking fumigation at the ground premises and providing medical aid facilities including two ambulances and three mobile dispensary units. About 30 to 40 dustbins are also being provided by the MCD.

About 200 to 300 loudspeakers, 20 to 25 speaker boxes, and 15 mikes are being installed for the programme though television screens have been ruled out owing to the possibility of rain. In addition, eight to 10 mobile toilet facility units are also being sponsored free of cost by the Slum Department of the Delhi government.

Arvind Kejriwal, who was overseeing arrangements, expressed concern over the possibility of rain and its impact on the arrangements. Mr. Kejriwal said free food and water was being arranged through a voluntary organisation. “The bhandara people who provide food and water during the Amarnath Yatra have pledged to help us by providing free food and water till the duration of the protest at Ramlila Maidan.”

Judiciary out of Lokpal? Team Anna softens stand

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Arvind Kejriwal

Image via Wikipedia

The 40-hour standoff between Anna Hazare and the government ended on Thursday, with the Gandhian leader agreeing that his fast would not exceed 15 days. The Hazare group also clearly indicated that it is ready to drop its insistence over a key sticking point on inclusion of the higher judiciary within the ambit of the proposed Lokpal law.

Team Anna might consider dropping the contentious demand to bring the judiciary in the anti-corruption ombudsman’s jurisdiction if the government delivers on a strong judicial accountability bill. The inclusion of higher judiciary has been opposed by both the government and main opposition party BJP on the ground that it would affect the independence of the courts.

There is also a possibility that the Hazare group and the government might be able to find middle ground on another important demand relating to including the prime minister in the law’s jurisdiction.

If the government’s plans for a Judicial Accountability and Standards Bill meet the expectations of the activists, judicial probity need not be addressed by the Lokpal, said Anna’s associate Arvind Kejriwal. “If a strong judicial accountability bill is brought to Parliament, we are open to excluding this from the Lokpal,” he said.

Hazare’s associates sealed a deal with Delhi police early on Thursday morning and Kejriwal said Anna’s fast would not continue beyond 15 days. “It depends on how the government responds to the demands put before it,” he said. This was echoed by another key member of Team Anna, Kiran Bedi, who said the Gandhian would fast as long as his medical examiners, including Dr Naresh Trehan, felt he should.

Clauses of the undertaking that Team Anna has agreed to and which were part of the original terms include – no damage to public property; gathering will not exceed the limit of the ground; the crowd will not spill over to nearby roads; protesters will cooperate with traffic police; loud speaker use within the ambit of a Supreme Court order setting a 10 pm limit.

Team Anna, however, is insistent that the Lokpal must be able to probe the Prime Minister. “The PM has to be in the ambit of the Lokpal,” Kejriwal said. There is a possibility of this demand being conceded as unlike in the case of higher judiciary, BJP and Left parties differ with the government with the Opposition backing the activists.

Government sources felt the inclusion of the PM’s office with riders like excluding decisions relating to national security and foreign policy can be considered by the standing committee examining the Lokpal bill. It is a bargaining chip the government can use. At the Cabinet meeting that cleared the bill, four ministers supported Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s view that examination of an incumbent PM is better than an inquiry after he demits office.

Indications from both camps point to the likelihood of another round of negotiations or at least exchange of proposals with the government still opposed to Team Anna’s demand for a large bureaucratic structure and inclusion of lower-level officials in the law’s ambit. The government sees Lokpal as an institution to specifically combat corruption in high places.

Speaking to TOI, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the core committee of India against Corruption was meeting on Friday to discuss the demands. “The matter will be discussed in the core committee then.” Sources said while the group has been militant about its demands, it would soon decide on the inclusion of judiciary.

Team Anna’s statements gain significance as they come at a time when they have won a battle of wills with the Centre after a 40-hour standoff. The breakthrough came in the small hours on Thursday after Anna associates met Delhi Police commissioner B K Gupta, and reached an agreement.

The other clauses are arrangements for drinking water, medical aid, mobile toilets, proper lighting; no carrying of lathis or weapons; no provocative slogans or speeches; no inflammatory slogans within 200 meters of religious or worship places; care to be taken of public safety and no use of crackers.

Medical examination of Anna and those who will keep fast along with him will be conducted by government doctors thrice a day, while Team Anna promised to abide by the April 16, 2009, order of the Supreme Court which stipulated rules and regulations for public protests.

Parties back Anna’s right to dissent, but reject his main demand

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The government, no doubt, has been rightly accused of mishandling the Anna Hazare protest and, worse, of misjudging the public mood. But it is equally true that even the worst critics of the government in Parliament want nothing to do with the central demand of Team Anna: Parliament must consider their ‘Jan Lokpal Bill.’

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s statement on the emotive subject of Mr. Hazare’s arrest — and the release orders issued within 12 hours — the Congress was almost completely isolated, deserted by even its own allies who preferred not to speak at all, or, if they did, were critical of the government’s “mishandling” of the situation, strongly defending the right to dissent and protest.

But ironically, not one party has said the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ is better than the government’s Bill. Nor is anyone from the political class supporting Team Anna’s main demand: Parliament must consider and discuss the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ to pass it into law. Thus, the parties are left in the awkward situation of supporting Mr. Hazare’s right to protest in whichever way he wants, while rubbishing his main demand.

Politicians across the spectrum are one in rejecting Team Anna’s demand. Thus, while they have unitedly knocked the bottom out of Team Anna’s campaign, they have come together opportunistically — sensing the moment of the government’s extreme discomfiture — to say they strongly support his right to protest and express a different point of view.

“Nobody can dictate to Parliament…he [Mr. Hazare] has had his say before the standing committee [considering the Lokpal Bill], and he must have confidence in Parliament and await the outcome,” said D. Raja of the Communist Party of India. He was one of the several Opposition leaders who had together decided on Tuesday that unless the Prime Minister made a statement on the arrest of Mr. Hazare and his team members and both Houses were allowed to discuss the issue threadbare, Parliament could not function. “Legislation must be enacted by Parliament; it cannot be made in Ramlila Maidan or J.P. Park,” he said.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari and parliamentary leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley have also questioned the idea of Bills being made on the streets by any group, however well-meaning they are. Ms. Swaraj said as much on the floor of the Lok Sabha. The party also said that while it had problems with the government’s draft, it was not in agreement with the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ either.

Disagreeing with the main demand of the civil society activists, the BJP, as the main Opposition party, is naturally interested in making Parliament and the entire government dysfunctional.

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) was even more forthright. He strongly differed with Team Anna’s demand. “How can that be? There is a constitutional scheme of things; a legislative process that cannot be abandoned. Yes, Parliament can amend the Bill when it comes up for discussion and issues raised in the ‘Jan Lokpal’ can be discussed, and even adopted as amendments, if the majority of members agree.”

Mr. Yechury also pointed out that Anna Team’s argument was “akin to that used by the Sangh Parivar and the BJP, which had asserted that the 80 per cent people of India [the Hindus] want to build a Ram temple at the disputed Babri Masjid site.” At that time too, BJP leader L.K. Advani and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad built a so-called people’s movement, he noted, and Mr. Advani traversed the country on his “rath” to mobilise opinion, but “should Parliament have caved in to that demand?”

While strongly supporting the “democratic right” of Mr. Hazare’s followers to protest, not one politician of note was willing to support Team Anna’s demand — reiterated on Wednesday through a press statement — that “the end objective [of the protest], which thousands of people also demand, is a strong anti-corruption law: the Jan Lokpal Bill.”

Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party took Mr. Yechury’s argument further. “Tomorrow, if some leader or party were to create a view among the Hindus that the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and members of other religious minorities must be disenfranchised, should Parliament be compelled to pass such a law?,” he asked. He also pointed to a major flaw in the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill,’ under which the Lokpal would be investigator, prosecutor and judge.

Not one party has backed the clause in the ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ to bring the judiciary under its purview, while the BJP, the Left and some other parties favour that the institution cover the office of Prime Minister. As for the Lokpal’s jurisdiction over every case of corruption in the country, the consensus is that it will be counter-productive as the institution will get clogged with lakhs of cases.

The Samajwadi Party is yet to clarify its views. But its MP Shailendra Kumar made it clear that Parliament alone could legislate, and a ruling party had the constitutional right to present a Bill to Parliament. “An MP can do so by presenting a private members’ Bill that is barely discussed and almost always rejected.”

Defiant Anna jailed, freed, refuses to leave Tihar

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Gandhian Anna Hazare was jailed here Tuesday morning ahead of his fast for an effective anti-corruption law, sparking protests that drew tens of thousands across India. Stunned by the People Power, authorities did a U-turn within 12 hours and declared him free but the fasting soldier-turned-activist refused to walk out of the jail until he was allowed to hold his planned fast without any fetters.

Just six hours after he was driven to the Tihar Jail after 3 p.m. after being sentenced to a week’s judicial custody, an unprecedented outburst of spontaneous public anger led Delhi Police to release him. But Hazare, 74, declined to move until his demands were met.

A desperate administration pressed him to hold a conditional fast for three days at the J.P. Park — the planned venue in the heart of the city — or leave Delhi. But the man refused, setting the stage for a lingering showdown between the government and the civil society he leads.

Hazare confidante Kiran Bedi – a former police officer who was detained but released within hours – said he was determined to pursue his hunger strike at the J.P. Park — but minus any condition. Hazare began his fast Tuesday morning.

She said he would not leave Tihar Jail until this demand was met. Also fasting with Hazare were his key confidants.

The day-long drama effectively left the government floundering, with Congress leaders struggling to defend their earlier hardline stand against a Gandhian who has become an icon in India’s war on corruption.

In the evening, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who earlier convened a meeting of senior ministers to discuss the tense situation — and the likely political fallout.

“We can apologize” for arresting Hazare, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chaudhry said late in the evening, as protests in support of the man raged, mainly in Delhi and Mumbai where thousands poured out of their homes with Indian flags, cloth banners and posters. The rains in Delhi could not dampen people’s mood.

As night broke, crowds in the capital only swelled, mainly outside Tihar Jail and the Chhatrasal sports stadium in another corner of the city where hundreds had been detained for siding with Hazare.

Tihar Jail spokesman Sunil Gupta said shortly before 9 p.m. that Hazare had been let off from his cell but he was in the prison office, talking to officials and refusing to leave.

Eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee said the government had tripped badly. “What is happening in the government?” Sorabjee asked on TimesNow television. “This is a gigantic folly, a gigantic miscalculation.”

The arrests of Hazare and his aides crippled parliament as an otherwise divided opposition closed ranks. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist called for nationwide protests Wednesday.

“The reaction is tremendous all over India,” said former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde in Bangalore, one of scores of cities that saw numerous small and big demonstrations in support of Hazare.

It all began shortly after 7 a.m. when policemen in civilian clothes swooped on Hazare and trusted activist Arvind Kejriwal as they stepped out of a middle class apartment in east Delhi.

They were to begin their hunger strike, in violation of police orders, for a strong Lokpal Bill in place of a government-sponsored one that excludes the prime minister, the judiciary and a mass of junior government officials from its purview.

As hundreds blocked a main road, the police were stuck with Hazare and Kejriwal. Eventually he was taken to the police officers’ mess in another part of the city, then to another office and finally sent to prison when he refused to sign a bail bond.

Before being detained, Hazare — aware that he could be arrested — said in a recorded video message: “Don’t let my arrest stop this movement. This is the nation’s second struggle for freedom.”

The message had an electrifying effect.

In towns and cities across India, spontaneous protests erupted. Tens of thousands took to the streets shouting slogans against the government and hailing the Gandhian.

The biggest shows of solidarity were reported from Delhi and Mumbai.

Apart from major cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, numerous big and small protests took place in Udaipur, Jammu, Selam, Bhopal, Surat, Rajkot, Patna, Guwahati, Raipur, Shimla, Mandi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Bhiwani — and many more.

The people who took to the streets were dominantly from the middle class — sick and tired of India’s endemic corruption. There were men and women, from vocal teenagers to spirited men even in their 80s.

There was no violence anywhere in the country.

Once Hazare was taken to Tihar Jail, large numbers offered themselves for arrest in Delhi. The number swelled to around 1,400, by official admission. After a while police refused to arrest any more saying that the makeshift prison — Chhatrasal stadium — was overflowing.

Activists insisted that up to 5,000 had been detained.

Senior ministers justified the arrest but sounded defensive. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal even suggested that Hazare could again talk to the government over the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Ministers denied that Delhi Police acted under political pressure.

Celebrities too stepped in to verbalise their distress. Lyricist Javed Akhtar said: “I have had certain reservations about Anna.

Written by THE LAWFILE

August 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Stench of corruption has stuck to UPA: All-India survey

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The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. In fact, the core message coming through from a CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey is just the opposite: the UPA’s corruption stinks.

The survey, conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) from 1,300 locals in 19 states, confirms that corruption has become a big deal with the aam aadmi, both in urban and rural areas, but more so among the educated classes.

A decisive 60 percent of those surveyed felt that the UPA was running a “Very corrupt” or “Somewhat corrupt” government, with urban respondents showing an even higher percentage of disgust at 66 percent. That’s two out of three people. College-educated people were most vehement and angry, with as many as 71 percent agreeing with the above statements. This is the group from where Team Anna probably finds sustenance.

The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. B Mathur/Reuters

Rahul baba, you have a problem on your hands in 2014. Manmohan Singhji, your credibility has been shot to pieces — especially on corruption.

But Gadkariji, Sushmaji andJaitleyji, you have nothing to gloat about. Karnataka is the only state where the people are more concerned about the BJP’s corruption than the UPA’s by a huge margin. You did well asking Yeddyurappa to go, but you have a huge repair job to do.

Interestingly, corruption is a wider issue than the current media obsession with the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams. The survey finds 44 percent of the people agreeing with the statement that “The government has been insincere in responding to issues raised by the anti-corruption movements”, but barely 27 percent of the respondents had heard of A Raja and 25 percent of Suresh Kalmadi. Even fewer (22 percent) had heard of Kanimozhi or Dayanidhi Maran (19 percent).

What this suggests is that the recent incidents of corruption may merely have upped the ante on corruption, but the aam aadmi has more serious concerns about corruption and it goes well beyond the 2G or Commonwealth scams.

Perceptions about central- and state-level corruption also tell the same story. Despite the public’s strong unhappiness with UPA’s poor record on corruption, in many states the concerns are about both central and state corruption. In Karnataka and Andhra, state-level corruption seems like a bigger problem than the UPA’s distant corruption. Dilli door ast.

In Karnataka, for example, 52 percent of the respondents felt that the state government was more corrupt than the Centre, against just half the number who said the Centre was more corrupt. In Andhra, the anger with state-level corruption was 39 percent against 32 percent for the Centre.

Rahul Baba, here’s a tit-bit for you. In Uttar Pradesh, where you are trying to score points over Mayawati, both Centre and state are seen as nearly equally corrupt (at 32 and 30 percent). So maybe you should not make corruption a key talking point.

In Bihar, there is an even more interesting trend: while UPA is seen as corrupt (48 percent) and the state government as a near angel (just 14 percent), the real problems are at the level of local governments – panchayats and zilla parishads. Here the corruption score is 37 percent. Nitish Kumarji, this is your next challenge. Your panchayats are your Achilles’ heel.

Surprisingly, Sheila Dikshit’s government has emerged unscathed, with only 20 percent saying it was more corrupt than the Centre. Or is it luck at work, with people associating the Commonwealth scam squarely with Kalmadi and the Centre?

Given these perceptions, and given the strong antipathy of the educated and literate classes to corruption, it is little wonder that Team Anna is finding traction.

But there is a humbling thought for them, too: only a third of the people polled in 1,300 locations had heard of them, and only one-fourth knew what the Lokpal and Jan Lokpal Bills were about.

But so low is the trust in politicians, and especially the UPA government at the centre, that people implicitly trust the civil society movement more. The Tina (there is no alternative) factor is helping Anna Hazare more than anything else.

   Table 1:UPA government insincere on corruption

UPA government insincere on corruption.

    Table 2: UPA running a corrupt government

UPA is running a corrupt government.

Table 3: Centre most corrupt 

Table 3: Centre most corrupt.