THE UPA government has stated that the charge made by the Anna Hazare team that 15 ministers are involved in corruption cases is baseless. Minister Narayanswamy has said that Anna Hazare “does not seem to have any work” and is making false charges against the government. The minister’s statement does not seem to be convincing. What the government should do is to accept the challenge and prove that the ministers are not guilty.
There seems to be a significant difference in government’s response to Anna Hazare’s fast. Last time he went on a fast, four or five ministers – including Pranab Mukherjee – were interacting with Anna and negotiating with him with regard to the Lok Pal proposal. The government seems to have learnt a lesson and changed its tactics. Its response has been subdued and small. It must have seen that the crowd response to Anna Hazare’s fast has been much less this time. Anna’s fast has not pulled crowds as it did last time. Anna has explained it away by saying that the number of people attending his fast does not matter now in fact there is now an awareness about the anti-corruption movement throughout the country. It looks like the Anna Hazare team is quite determined to fast unto death. The government cannot ignore this explosive event. It has to either use force and break the fast or it has to agree to investigation of corruption charges against the ministers.