Gopalkrishna Gandhi expects credible Lokpal

Chennai: As the government grapples with enactment of a strong Lokpal Bill, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has expressed hope that a "highly respected and credible" anti-corruption watchdog will be created but not before another wave of popular agitation.

"It is my hope that in the coming days and weeks, the nation will see a popular public agitation and popularly elected representatives coming together to create a highly respected and credible Lok Pal, he said delivering the third Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture here at the Russian Centre Saturday evening.

Recalling that the country`s youth hearkened to Jayaprakash Narain in millions, he said "Today, the Anna Hazare movement has drawn them magnetically." Hazare, who staged two rounds of agitation this year pressing for a strong Lokpal, has threatened to go on a fast from December 27 if the Bill is not passed in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Gandhi expressed hope that thorny issues like inclusion of the Prime Minister under Lokpal ambit would be sorted out with the spirit of `mutual respect and trust`.

Voicing concern over the state of affairs in the country, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi said the nation was facing multiple crises, the prime among them being crisis of visvasam (trust).

Observing that no one trusts anyone anymore, the former governor said "The opposition does not trust the government to be frank, the government does not trust the opposition to be fair. Neither trusts the media to be frank or fair. And the media trusts absolutely no one at all. It can hardly be blamed," he added.

"The States do not repose old-style faith in the Centre, the Centre is not confident of States support in federal undertakings and initiatives. Some MPs do not trust the Public Accounts Committee, some other MPs even harbour doubts about the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Restoration of trust was a monumentally difficult task, he said but believed it could be done.

Noting that people`s trust in many politicians had been shaken, he said they, however, still had trust in the Election Commission and Judiciary, two major organs of national architecture. They hope that these two would help restore the nation`s trust in its own political systems, Gandhi said.

He recalled the contributions made by the country`s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, describing him as an ideal President and a referential marker in the evolution of Constitutional experience.

Nations need the leadership of the authorised. And the guidance of the authoritative. The two together make for good governance. One without the other is either hollow, or academic, he said.