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Movements like Anna’s give democracy new dimensions: Pranab

President Pranab Mukherjee with the new Chief Information Commissioner Sushma Singh at her swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said social movements as witnessed during the recent Anna Hazare-led agitation cannot be brushed aside and have opened new dimensions of democratic structure.

Mukherjee, speaking at the annual Intelligence Bureau (IB) endowment lecture, referred to the conventional thought of democracy which meant periodical elections and review of performance of the Government, which has changed now.

His observation comes a day after the Parliament passed the landmark Lokpal Bill. While underlining the importance of IB’s input on critical infrastructure for government, he said, “…Ten years ago, nobody could think of the social activists, non-governmental organisations… they will not only demand that a particular piece of legislation is to be enacted to protect the interest of the people as they perceive but they insist that you have to adopt this model, this structure. We shall have to agree and if we cannot… keep it under carpet…These are the types of challenges which we are facing today.”

Referring to Anna Hazare’s movement, Mukherjee said when it was at its peak more than two years ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to head Group of Ministers to negotiate with the anti-corruption campaigner.

He said he was even asked during a visit in Vietnam as to how he would respond to that movement. Maintaining that he was responding as a student of politics, he said, “It is opening new dimensions of our democratic structure which we shall have to address.”

Earlier, he said, it was thought that democracy meant people would choose their elected representatives who will make legislations for them and administer for them.

At the end of that stipulated period, “we shall have an account from them how have we been successful or not”, he said.

The President in his half-hour speech observed that terrorism has assumed a much larger proportion than it was thought with advancement of science and a revolution in information technology.

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