Some basic research and investigation by us in India Against Corruption earlier this year revealed that at least 15 senior ministers of the Union cabinet, including the prime minister, Pranab Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram had serious charges of corruption or worse pending against them. This malaise is representative of the entire political class, underlines the need for an independent Lokpal and also explains the determined efforts by them to thwart it. It also showed not only why the country was being looted and bled dry, but also why revolts, insurgencies and ethnic conflicts were breaking out all over the country and the administration was collapsing. The country seems headed for anarchy and civil war. To highlight the alarming situation, it was decided that some of us would sit on an indefinite fast for the setting up of an independent Special Investigation Team headed by three retired Supreme Court judges to investigate these charges.
Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai were joined by hundreds of other fasting volunteers and, after four days, by Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar. After eight days of the fast, the government’s response was an arrogant stonewalling of the demand. Their refrain was the same as on the Jan Lokpal bill. In short they said: we are the elected representatives, and we will decide whether any investigation is to be done. Unelected members of civil society have no right to demand any investigation or any law. It became clear therefore that fasting or public demonstrations, even by large masses of people, would not yield any result.