Interview with Team Anna member Kiran Bedi, social activist in her present avatar who gained fame as reformist IPS officer in the 80s and 90s for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7.
PC: What has happened in the recent days makes it seem that the ‘andolan’ has been left aside, and the people came at the forefront, there were contempt notices against your members. Anna’s name got left in the background, instead your name, Sisodia’s name and other people name came at the forefront, they became more popular. What does this mean?
KB: This is not the case.
PC: There was discussion in the parliament over a statement made by one person. It ran for two days. The movement got over, discussion started happening on the person.
KB: This is the part of the movement, party of anti corruption movement.
PC: Is abusing politician part of the movement
KB: Nobody abused.
PC: But the way you showed that, “ choor ki dadhi mein tinka” Even though that may have not have been your intention, but the way it got projected.
KB: Projection is a different issue, but the thing about truth is different. There is a lot of difference between the two. Project is different issue ,facts are a different issue. Arvind told the facts. You people wrote in the newspapers, that these are the records of these many people. Out of these, so many are cabinet ministers, this Arvind researched and told you. And his research is based on what has come out on the internet, magazines, that in on television.
PC: Sharad Yadav was shown, and then your people were shown ‘chor ki daadhi mein tinka’ statement
KB: Let them project anyway, it is but a projection.
PC: If you show some MP’s beard and his income statement
KB: That is projection, Prabhuji that is projection.
PC: But Sharad Yadav, is not in that category of yours
KB: Television is an interesting concept, very interesting technology, they way it projects, links, it is all about projection.
PC: But what was the need for showing Sharad Yadav.
KB: Sharad Yadav, the speech that he gave in parliament, which was given
PC: To show that they are not with us
KB: No, what all , they were excerpts on television. Who told what at that time, excerpts were taken, that is it.
PC: I understood what you mean to say, that such people were shown who were speaking out against your movement
KB: No, they were not speaking against the movement. The thing that he said about Lokpal then, on that issue of anti corruption
PC: On that issue you did not agree with him, that was the idea.
KB: It were their views, let somebody agree or not
PC: But after that saying, chor ki daadhi mein tinka, dont you think he should have any objection.
KB: These are sayings, if you translate then in English, it seems something else, you say it diplomatically, it seems something else. Hence, please don’t get stuck on the saying.
PC: You think there is no mistake by your team
KB: We said the truth. Is truth wrong? When newspapers write the truth
PC: You are getting confused in words, I am getting confused in words. Sharad Yadav keeps a beard, you showed his clipping, and one of your team’s representative said ‘ Chor ki dadhi mein tinka’I
KB: If you want to get stuck on the saying, then it is your problem, not mine.
PC: Not on the saying, I am taking about the person who was shown.
KB: I told about the persons, it was excerpts from television. But if you want to get stuck on some words then it is your Teekhi Baat, not mine.
PC: I am struck on the person, not on the words.
KB: I have told that those were excerpts. We had shown not only for them.
PC: For him only, “Chor ki dadhi mein tinka’ was for him only.
KB: That was a saying in context to what was being said.
PC: What cant you say it was in context to that person.
KB: It was not in context to him, it was not in context to any one person. That time it was one issue.
PC: Such a good movement of yours is on, the full country is standing with you, from young to elders, poor to rich, ladies and men, minority, majority are all standing by you. But with these kind of statements does it not seem that you are fighting with the same parliament where you want the law to be passed.
KB: Were you listening for the first time what was being said, first time.
PC: It is going on for the whole year now, hence the law is not being passed.
KB: No, no, no, no, this is the first time you are hearing it from a stage, the voice of the common man. It is being written about in the newspapers, on television, video, the worldwide internet, twitter, it is even worse on facebook than that. If you do some research about what all is coming on facebook, it is even worse than that.
PC: The people of the country don’t make people win or lose elections via facebook or twitter. It can be a medium of discussion.
KB: The people of the country are facebook, twitter, sms, radio at home, television, newspaper, and the people of the country who were at Jantar Mantar, it was representing all classes, you would know since you had come to Jantar Mantar, Prabhuji you had come to Jantar Mantar
PC: Yes, I had. They were less as compared to last time , but there were many.
KB: From all classes
PC: From all classes, I have said this initially.
KB: You were counting that time, we were not.
PC: Seeing the response
KB: We were focussing on the people who came on their own. Can any one person be brought forcefully, even one person, can you make one person sit forcefully under the sun all day.
PC: They are with your commitment, with Anna’s movement, no doubt in that. But the question is that as the movement is going ahead, the movement is becoming less important, but the individuals are becoming more important, this is what people opposing you say.
KB: Ah, this is what people oppose us say. This is not what the common people are saying.
PC: The people who are opposing
KB: No problem, people opposing are also there.
PC: The lokpal that you want, in a particular form, you said that you want it only in that form and not any other. But the parties who are opposing in UP
KB: Lokpal will not come this manner, the majority is not interested in CBI issue, minorities can be, left parties demanded CBI to be made free, BJP too demanded, I listened to JAITLEY saab, that CBI should be independent, its selection should be independent and it should report to Lokpal. I listened to Sitaram Yechuryjee. And may be last time when the Rajya Sabha was in session, even Mayawatiji had said this. That’s all, if they would say it again or not, I don’t know. But they don’t have the numbers, hence one will not get this, and without this, Lokpal is nothing.
PC: You were in UP when the elections were on, your people were moving there, your did not speak in favour, nor in opposition of any party, your spoke about your Lokpal bill. Even after that a party that is not in agreement with the current structure of Lokpal proposed by you, people gave more than 200 seats to that party, hence don’t you think that your voice’s credibility did not work there.
KB: Did you attend any campaign where we were campaigning, nobody from you were present. And what was happening in the campaign, actually the media has not shown it.
PC: Media showed show much of you, you are levelling a charge on media, you did good work, media did not do bad work in depicting
KB: No, no,no,no, no,no,no,no I am not showing that media did not show other things, people said that give us right to reject, nobody projected this. People are demanding right to reject, people are saying there is a well one the one side and valley on the other, whom should we vote for, when there is no one, will we vote for valley, can we get any work done for him, but the day you give well, valley and a clean platform, or right to reject, you will see that a new andolan will rise in this country. But at this moment it is not there.
PC: What you are saying is true, but who will give right to reject, it will be given by the parliament of this nation.
KB: No, it will be given by a department, you know the parliament is not needed for this.
PC: There is a provision but
KB: Lets say the govenremnt will give
PC: Even if the parliaments wants to, it is not with you, not till now
KB: Who is the parliament,
PC: You and me
KB: Then, have they not to come back to us one day, to the aam aadmi to seek vote. That time the aam aadmi will say, the thing I was telling you time and again, give me right to reject, there should be a right to reject, then you did not give it, then why should it give you vote today.
PC: Kiranji, five elections happened after your andolan, five parties went , Congress in Uttarakhand, where your people went to protest, that the bill should be of this type, there Khanduri saab gave a bill, which you supported. Inspite of that, Khanduri lost. This means there is no connection between your point and people or is there some other reason.
KB: Khanduri saab has not lost,
PC: He himself lost elections.
KB: Khanduri saab won lots, Khanduri saab he came from zero to ninety, it is almost like ninety percent. Just because he had got lokayukata, Prabhu saab you should have seen, the kind of ground he gained in some months, a lot of that was because of lokayukta and it was an individual fight, he won it individually. It won an individual fight.
PC: Congress party won, came to power and BSP is part of the government, who had opposed your bill. That means the public
KB: If Khanduri saab had one more year, then the situation would have been different.
. PC: You are saying that the people will come to you for vote, leaders will come we will make them win or lose elections, on the issue of Lokpal, but in Uttarakhand, in UP it was proved, that the parties which have won, are not with the Lokpal bill given by you
KB: This is what you think, this is what you think,
PC: I am seeing the result,
KB: This is your thinking, you did not go to the depths of what the aam aadmi is thinking. That is why your thinking is something different.
PC: You are linking aam aadmi
KB: The voice of the aam aadmi says something different, this is what our representatives are not recognizing.
PC: I agree with you, but the voice of the common man is reflected via his vote, who wins is sikander. You said that when they come to the people, they will be taught a lesson. I am asking you an opposite question, they went to the people, and won. What you think after this, what roadmap have you got. Will you keep on fighting you are protesting everywhere, going everywhere. There is no shortcoming in your protest, but somewhere the politician is able to attract the voter, convince them,
KB: Prabhuji, what is our work, we are doing. The way people understand it is their responsibility. It is also the responsibility of the public, and a lot of people are understand and will go on understanding. Their understanding will keep on growing till 2014.
PC: No, even after five elections, your are saying it will keep on growing.
KB: Absolutely. Didn’t you see, so many enticing things were promised to people in UP, so many statements were given, what was the benefit? I told you that the day you give the third choice, right to reject, the face of the democracy will start changing. That is why till now right to reject is not given on EVM. You have 49-o form,
PC: Yes, it is
KB: but to use 49-o form, where the 49-o from says that I don’t like any of these
PC: But not told to anybody
KB: Why not, because they fear. Because they think, I will get exposed, I have to go to the village and stay with him. But the day you get this confidentially on machine, situation will change a lot. I understand
PC: There can be a big debate on right to reject, if every candidate is rejected, will elections keep on happening every time.
KB: Not not many times, this manthan would have to be done one, two times. It will bring a lot of change.
PC: Rs. 25,000 crore will be spent
KB: You try and do it in constituencies, try it, it is worth trying. Where you have both criminal candidates, both have crime records, many of those crimes of serious nature, who will the people vote for?
PC: Hence, you believe that he people who get elected are not going to do your work.
KB: Some generation, some people you will have to reject, because you have no conviction, trials are going for twenty years, witnesses are getting won, they threaten and trial does not happen, cases are pending, then what will you do? Day to day trial is not happening, this is what Arvind had demanded, this was one of our main demands, specially political candidates, who are sitting in assembly and parliament these days, set up a special court for them. Day to day trial should happen, in six months you will come to know against whom the cases were wrong, and against who were really
PC: You mean what Arvind said, trial for politician should happen?
KB: Because you are taking a huge responsibility of the country in the assembly, you have taken the nation’s responsibility sitting in parliament, if you do a crime it is not that important, but a person who has taken responsibility for the whole nation to make laws, at least, law makers should not be law breakers.
PC: Your team have so much credibility, Anna has so much credibility, why don’t you put pressure on political parties not to give ticket to such people. You start dharna at the house as you had done earlier..
KB: What you said is exactly right, the solution is that he party should not give ticket. The source of this Ganga, should be set right.
PC: Why did you not do, let Annaji go sit outside Gadkari’s house, Soniaji’s house, that you don’t give tickets
KB: Prabhuji, this was said, that the source should be cleaned, why do you give ticket to criminal candidate? Because if you don’t give ticket what will happen? He will stand as independent, if he stands as independent, then the people will elect him, party has not given him ticket, now it is the responsibility of the people, if you have vote for a man who is a criminal, then why are you saying now.
PC: Why didn’t you start movement against political parties.
KB: This was said, this was also one of our demands, party high commands, party head office, I gave it on twitter too,
PC: Why did you not give dharna, protest at party headquarters.
KB: This was there, but was not raised. But we have time, these messages will be given.
PC: Earlier you used to give deadlines, pass this bill till 31 otherwise we will do this, now you have given big leeway, till 2014. Annaji said 2014.
KB: Where is, you have 400 days, even if you take one more year, 600 days, for such a big country, even this time is very less.
PC: Don’t you think movement will tire, or you are thinking give a long time, we will see what has to happen. In between, eight assembly elections will happen.
KB: The mindset of democracy which has been there for 64 years, for you to change that in only one and a half years, is not an ordinary thing, and if you are spreading awareness for one more year, then it will make a lot of difference.
PC: Do you have hope from political parties, or ruling parties, will they do something till 2014.
KB: If they have to come again, the will think something.
PC: They have come again at many places.
KB: They have got the message, clarity has come, that who will vote for whom. What worry is there in the minds of the people, people are attaching their vote with what, that has come.
PC: Please see your opposition is saying that you are going on becoming dictators, you are now dictating without any accountability, if you have so much strength, why don’t you you make your own political party, Team Anna political party and fight elections, and made candidates stand for elections.
KB: Then what are you for then? If we have to do everything ourselves, you are saying that before raising your voice you yourself become MP. Then I am asking what for these MP’s are?
PC: No, you have fought against them and seen, and are not able to anything.
KB: But they have to go to the people again, we will make the people ready. We will not make ourselves ready, we will make the people ready.
PC: Now five elections, but you are not agreeing, you are saying we won, I am saying that
KB: No, Prabhuji, will agree, will have to agree, are agreeing, slowly are agreeing,
PC: If you lose in 2014
KB: Many fights are long, andolan is not jhat pat,
PC: You will not make your own political party
KB: Till now this mind has not crossed any of our minds. That we will become a political candidate, this is in nobody’s mind.
PC: Political party
KB: I told you why should we become political party, then what are you there for, when five hundred an …
PC: Do you think they will do it? I don’t think
KB: They will have to do it Prabhuji , they will have to do it. If you want votes, then you will have to do it. People will have to be given honesty
PC: But the way you want the bill, it will not come in that way
KB: No problem, the struggle will go on. The fight will go on, the fight of the common man will go on.
PC: You have faith in parliament?
KB: Certainly, I have faith in parliament, parliament is our law maker. But no law breakers should sit in it, this is our demand. Law breakers should not sit in law making body.
PC: The law which will be passed before 2014, whatever type is done, if you don’t like, then will you keep on doing andolan again.
KB: Our awareness will go on, you can say awareness as andolan, andolan as awareness, that is your wish. Our awareness, making people alert will go on.
PC: After that will decide if have to go in politics or not
PC: If you mission fails
KB: Our mission will not fail, our education is on, when a teacher educates a child, and if the child does not score full marks, does she fail in teaching, she has not failed, she has got the child to somewhere.
PC: If all teachers will, then how will they be taught responsibility of teachers
KB: All teachers are not failing, in the way awareness is on, that what are the rights and duties of voters.
PC: You believe on the political system
KB: 100 per cent. Belief in the system, there can be no better democracy than this.
PC: You fight will go on
KB: Will go on