Anna for law to empower gram sabhas
In a video address to Team Anna`s seminar `Rebuilding the Republic`, he said people will have to be ready for a big agitation like the one for Jan Lokpal Bill if the government does not bring a law for empowering village sabhas.
"Lok Sabha thinks it is above everyone. This is wrong. People have made you. So they are above you…It is the sacred temple of democracy. In such a sacred place, what has happened in Rajya Sabha in the last day (of the Winter Session) on Lokpal Bill. 550 people were giving their own suggestions. Nobody has asked people. So we need another law. Assemblies and Lok Sabha think that they are above gram sabhas. But gram sabhas are above you. We need a new law which gives such a power to gram sabhas," he said in his 30-minute address.
He said what happened in Rajya Sabha on the last day of Winter Session was wrong. "The elected members were giving their views on their own. This is not right democracy. Why this happened? Because the masters were sleeping. The Lok Sabha thinks it is above gram sabha. 550 people think they are bigger than everybody else. This thinking is wrong," he said.
He said there should be provisions in the new law that a panchayat can be dismissed if it spends money without consulting the gram sabha and getting their consent.
Arguing for strong gram sabhas, Hazare cited the acquisition process for Special Economic Zones saying the owners in the villages and the village sabhas do not know when the government acquires their land straightaway without their permission.
"We the masters were sleeping when the servants were looting our treasuries. Now we have awakened. If the government does not bring a law, we will have to organise an agitation similar to the August 16 (Ramlila Maidan) agitation for a strong Lokpal Bill," he said.
Claiming that today`s democracy is not for the people, by the people, and of the people but that of officialdom, Hazare said corruption increased because of exclusion of people from the law making process.
"Those who are to safeguard the treasuries are the ones who are looting it. The responsibility lies with people as they fell asleep after sending elected representatives to Parliament and Assemblies. We sent them as our servants but they are behaving like our masters…The laws being made are weak because you are not consulting the masters," he said.
Hazare said there is no difference between the British rule and the present system if the government does not take the opinion of people while making laws. He made a fresh demand for Right to Recall and Right to Reject laws.