Leading public figures add their voices of support to ‘Saaku’

As 11 December approaches, leading public figures in the city and elsewhere in the country added their voices of support to Saaku (‘enough’), the rally against corruption, and encouraged citizens to join them in the events this week.

A number of civil society and community organisations, as well as individual citizens are partnering for Saaku, creating a powerful and continuing movement for action against corruption. Coalition Against Corruption, Anti-Corruption Committee, Yuva Bengaluru, Daksh, Praja, Loksatta, SmartVote, Forward150, Swami Vivekanada Youth Movement, Sachidananda Nagar Nyayapara Andolana and many others have come together to spread the anti-corruption message, and will work together to ensure that the fight against corruption remains strong after the event too.

The movement will begin on 8 December, following a Conference against Corruption organized by the Public Affairs Centre. An ‘Anti-Corruption Baton’ will visit 6-7 colleges every day for the next 3 days, with a message to spread awareness about the need to address corruption. This will conclude in a walk on 11 December, Sunday, which will be flagged off by eminent dignitaries: former Chief Justice of India, Shri Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah, Ramon Magsaysay awardee and renowned RTI expert, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Loksatta founder and former member of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, and others.

Justice Venkatachaliah said, sixty years ago India was described as a functioning Anarchy .Today , there is a demise of every pretence of a constitutional democracy.the present populist Politics is degenerating into a mob rule .Urgent, meaningful and effective electoral reforms are our last hope .

Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament and Convenor of the ABIDe Task Force, said, ““Corruption is the biggest threat to our democracy. The nexus between Government and some businessmen – and the big money that this nexus represents –corrodes, compromises and destroys the institutions of Governance, undermines the honest people within Government and represents a clear and present danger to all citizens of India and Bangalore. Corruption involves transfer of public assets or money to private interests, and so while corruption seems to be a victimless crime, in reality all of us taxpayers and citizens are victims of this crime. We must realize that and must respond and protect ourselves from this crime. By preventing it and also prosecuting those who commit this crime.

Mr R K Misra, his colleague in the ABIDe Task Force and the winner of the Times of India’s Lead India Campaign, urged citizens to join him at the Saaku rally on Saturday, saying “Corruption has become all pervasive. Politicians, bureaucrats & even the judges have not been spared. Institutions which were supposed to fight corruption have themselves become suspect. We all suffer, mostly in silence. This is when the collective voice of citizens is needed to rid our society and institutions of corruption. We need to oppose corruption in all its forms and manifestations, irrespective of our affiliations and leanings.”

Dr Jayaprakash Narayan reminded citizens not to become cynical about politics as a result of the corruption around them. “While despair is understandable, we should remember that politics itself is a noble profession, and what we need to get rid of is corrupt people in politics. Moreover, in some ways what we are seeing is evidence of good changes in the system, and we need to replicate this elsewhere too. For instance, telecom access has been spectacularly successful thanks to competition, but telecom licensing is still a discretionary thing clouded in accusations of corruption. We need to apply the principles of the market here too, and make spectrum available through bids. In the context of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, we should do the same thing to mining licenses too, to curtail corruption. When the State picks the winners of these lotteries, it is bound to be corrupt. The answer is to throw open the licenses to competitive bidding.”

A rich concoction of musicals, skits and inspirational speeches will add to the events of Saaku. Details of these are available on the website – www.saaku.in. Citizens are invited to login to see how they can participate – individually, through their schools and colleges, and in many other ways.

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