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Why Team Anna Won The Lokpal Debate

 Writing in the Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan says that "despite the fact that Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi seem at various times to be eccentric, hectoring, pious, self-righteous, reactionary and complicit with shady godmen, there’s little doubt that so far they have won the rhetorical battle against the United Progressive Alliance government, their ‘civil society’ critics and other appalled pundits and commentators":

...while they rhetorically berate corrupt elected politicians, they don’t repudiate the institutions of constitutional democracy: they offer, instead, detailed prospectuses for reforming them...

Critics might find the suggestions made by Hazare and his lieutenants unworkable or deluded, but Team Anna can’t be accused of not offering concrete ways of reforming what it sees as corrupt or debauched governance. Nor can its critique of the actually existing democracy be summarily dismissed, if only because it seems to resonate with large numbers of people who turn out to be counted...

Kejriwal’s genius for mobilization and Anna’s scary willingness to die for his cause seem to have created an irresistible force and Parliament is turning out to be rather less than an immovable object. Apart from a reservation or two about the status of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Opposition is now publicly committed to every major provision of the jan lok pal bill...

The government’s bill will be the jan lok pal bill in every important detail. Rumours already swirl that the ruling dispensation will agree to place the prime minister and Class C and D employees within the lok pal’s jurisdiction. The subordination of the CBI to this super ombudsman seems to be the sticking point and here too the government will find a form of words to which it can surrender. This will be both an utter rout and a famous victory.

Read the full piece at the Telegraph: A Very Public Tutorial

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