India not yet ready for anti-graft political outfit: Hegde

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Former Supreme Court judge N. Santosh Hegde says a political party floated purely on the anti-corruption plank will not succeed in elections at this stage as money power and diversity play a role.

Hegde, a former Karnataka Lokayukta, who has distanced himself from erstwhile Team Anna's decision to start a political party on October 2, said cultural, linguistic and religious diversity play a part in elections.

"It's not as if everybody looks at (elections) only from democratic point of view," he said here. "People (sections of them) have got used to money being spent on them (in elections). It will take quite some time before we can change electoral attitude of the voters."

While anti-corruption plank is a good ground to fight elections, he is not sure whether one can taste electoral success only on that issue in the next 10-12 years.

Hegde, a key member of the Team which was disbanded by its leader and social activist Anna Hazare recently, maintained that he is opposed to the idea of floating an all India party which is not 'a child's play'.

"To find 543-plus candidates for Lok Sabha elections is going to be a tremendous effort," he said.

While getting candidates in all constituencies would not be a problem as some people would definitely apply because of Anna Hazare's reputation, "what sort of people will apply is the question."

And how will they canvass without necessary infrastructure? Hegde asked.

Indicating that the proposed political party of erstwhile Team Anna may not succeed, Hegde said one should learn from history, as he referred to Swatantra Party and Praja Socialist Party which did not last long.

"If you want to bring about a change, it may have to be within the system itself," Hegde said.

He argued that instead of starting a political party, the erstwhile Team Anna should have approached the issue in a 'much tactical manner' -- they could have fielded candidates in 10-20 constituencies where they had substantial support and sent them to Parliament. "It will make a lot of difference."

"But then there are people who want quick results, that's a problem," Hegde said, in a apparent dig at some members of Team who are bent on floating the party.

But he stressed that in today's context, the elected representatives do not care for views of the people.

"Today, which people's representative carries people's views into Parliament? Nobody does it."

On BJP leader L.K. Advani pitching for fixed terms and simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, Hegde said: "I agree with him because of the fact that expenses will be much less and national waste of time will be much less. On that practical point of view, I agree."

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