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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apolitical Anna Hazare Vs Political Arvind Kejriwal, And The Fight Against Corruption!

Article first published as India: The Dilemma Of Anna Hazare on Technorati.

Anna Hazare, the crusader against corruption, first became a phenomenon, then got into frequent spells of silence and confusion, had a few flop shows over the period of more than a year and finally called it a day dissolving his famous Team Anna. His story has been more of a dilemma than success or failure.

In August, 2012 Anna Hazare declared the decision to go political. The declaration was made from the stage shared by his team members who were the ones on fasting that time. The most prominent among them was Arvind Kejriwal who later said that the decision was taken after a lot of brainstorming and with the full permission of Anna Hazare. Anna also announced that there was nothing wrong in going in for a political alternative with a totally unresponsive government to deal with.

A few days later the anti-corruption guru back in his native place in the state of Maharashtra officially dissolved Team Anna. He became more active now writing in his blog and after a gap of few days more stated that the split in Team Anna was brought about by the ‘political’ agenda of his own members. He clarified that it was not the Government of India who broke his team up though they tried very hard for that purpose, but it was the political ambitions of his own members that ended the team. He was silent though about any possible role played by Baba Ramdev.

Finally, Anna Hazare landed up in New Delhi, the national capital, without any of his erstwhile members inviting or organizing any function. Anna too had no plans of meeting his members, not even his earlier right-hand man Arvind Kejriwal. He went there on his own and had media meetings on his own. What he uttered there made the dilemma even more hopeless.

Anna Hazare expressed his hatred for politics calling it ‘dirty’ and declared that he would never extend support for any political party or candidates and even his name cannot be used by any such party. At the same time he made another significant declaration that he would never go on fast again to push forward his ‘movement’. Later in Delhi Arvind Kejriwal reportedly met Anna and an immediate softening of Anna’s stand was reported too. This time he said he might consider supporting good candidates like Kejriwal who could make a difference in politics.

The phenomenon got reduced to a lonely  idealistic old man locked up in his village. India Against Corruption—the team that created a national uproar of late has allegedly got muted and filled to the brim with publicity hungering and politically ambitious people. Anna Hazare still wants to carry on with his movement and Kejriwal too reiterated his support for his mentor. But how and on whose strength was not specified. The political alternative was rejected by Anna, but no other alternative has been offered either. He wants the masses with him to fight corruption, but is unable to give the right direction to them. The fight against the greatest evil of India ever seems to be over.

Meanwhile, on the patriotic occasion of the 143rd Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi today Arivind Kejriwal has formally entered politics and released the vision document in Delhi for his new political party to be unveiled on November 26. The document says that if his party is elected to power the Lokpal (Ombudsmen) Bill would be brought in within 10 days which will give right to anybody to complain against anybody, that his party’s elected representatives would not use VIP facilities like cars, bungalows and all, and that full transparency would be maintained on the party’s website. Kejriwal also said that this would not be political party as such, but a people’s revolution.

All of these are rather nice simple and kind of make believe efforts. But Kejriwal should understand that if politics was this simple the whole problem of his ‘movement’ would have been unnecessary in the first place! And, the real problem is his  party will be without Anna Hazare’s blessings and even his mentor’s name cannot be used for any campaigns or promotions. A political movement now without the inspiration or the leader?  Or would Kejriwal’s party be able to answer now the five or six questions posed by his mentor? Or is this just a follow-up step by Kejriwal to keep on his political ambitions and stay on as a nationally relevant India Against Corruption leader? Which anti-corruption leader would the Indian masses choose now?

Where do we go from here? 
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