- You are here:
Lottery may look like a deceivingly simple subject but then looking back on our campaign we realize that we tackled an extremely complicated issue. The complexity can be gauged from the fact that the subject remained unresolved in spite of being under consideration by the Government of India for more than 30 years. Private lottery organizations were earning over Rs. 70 million that sometimes got close to a Rs. 100 million, by investing very small amounts. Though the Govt. continued to reap the monetary benefits of it on the other hand it had taken the shape of a great menace for several people who had become bankrupt. It drove them to sell their wives, kill their children and commit suicide.
This deplorable condition of the common man is what motivated me to study about this epidemic of lottery in depth, in order to eradicate it from its roots. I knew that the road to success would only come through hard work, determination and personal sacrifice but having walked down that road countless times before I resolutely spearheaded the anti-lottery campaign back in 1993. Workshops, meetings, demonstrations and rallies - we tried every possible measure to annihilate this social evil through public awareness and mass movements.
An all-party meeting convened at Vitthalbhai Patel Bhawan, in Delhi, is what set the wheels in motion. The first agitation started from Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji’s residence, with his blessings and sustained inspiration. After that, there was no turning back for me. What followed was series of public seminars, pamphlets distribution, referendum and special camps to ensure people understood the issue thoroughly and comprehended the evils of this social menace. As a result, succumbing to public pressure, Delhi Govt. finally banned the lottery trade in Delhi and imposed section 144 prohibiting the sale of lottery, in 1995. Though this seemed like paying off the protestors’ efforts it turned out to be a short-lived success. Delhi HC quashed the orders citing that lottery is the sole business of Central Govt.
Undeterred, we approached the then Prime Minister Shri H D Deve Gowda apprising him about the need to ban the lottery trade. Leaving no stone unturned, we filed the petition in the High Court. Soon after becoming a Member of the Parliament, I not only demanded the lottery-ban in Parliament in the form of Private Members’ Bill but also got 122 MPs to sign a memorandum in favor of passing the bill. With the pressure building even inside the parliament, I was finally able to get an ordinance banning instant lotteries, passed on 2nd Oct' 97 as a tribute to Gandhiji.
Passing of the ordinance was just one of the many milestones. It had only 6-months validity and the final bill was yet to be passed. Even this landmark did not come easily. Throughout the struggle, lottery traders and other self-motivated groups continued to oppose the lottery-ban. Lottery Vyapar Mahasangh was found making false propaganda about the loss of state revenue and employment due to the ban. The opposition heightened when lottery traders declared resorting to agitation. Death threats for my family and me were a common occurrence then. But that did not stop me from fighting tooth and nail and declaring to launch a counter offensive crusade in response to lottery trader’s agitation. I could also refute their allegations by proclaiming that the state earnings through lottery were meager and that there was barely any loss of employment when compared to the ruin of the crores of people caused by this social evil. It has plagued us since the ancient war of ‘Mahabharata’ that was started and fought due to gambling (Dhutkrida).
But the moment of success came only after 2 years, in 1999 when the Govt. of India finally passed the bill banning lotteries across India. The blood, sweat and tears shed by the thousands of protestors for 6 years, were finally paid off. With that judgment, the single digit lottery stopped being in existence all over the country. This significant judgment saved lakhs of poor, down-trodden families from the vicious clutches of lottery.
So far we have only seen success in banning single digit lotteries but all other sorts are yet to be banned. I have met the President, Prime Ministers and other Union ministers demanding a complete ban on all types of lotteries across the country. Our incessant struggle further led to cabinet decision on banning the sale of all kinds of lottery in India but I want to reiterate that the fight against the lottery shall go on until it’s totally uprooted.
I was pleased to see your reply. You are the first politician who care what his supporter wants and reply in a very humble manner. It's very praise worthy. My all best wishes for upcoming election. It's a changing moment of history.
Sir, it's a request to you kindly raise the issue of unalloted plots to DDA Rohini 1981 scheme. We are waiting for it for 33 years as well as 25000 families are waiting too but DDA has given just paper assurance. Kindly look into the matter sir.