Monday, October 10, 2011

Anna Hazare's politically loaded move

Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare has sent the message to the voters of Hissar parliamentary by-election to not vote the ruling Congress party because he feels that it does not appear to be serious and committed to bring and adopt his anti-graft Jan Lokpal Bill to remove corruption in the coming winter session of Parliament. His team members-headed by Arvind Kejriwal is already campaigning in Hissar against the Congress party candidate.

The anti-graft Lokpal Bill is lying with the Standing Committee of Parliament. As agreement reached between Team Anna and the government after which Anna broke his 12-day fast unto death strike in August last,Parliament was also in session during that time, that the strong Lokpal Bill will be brought in the winter session in Parliament to be held in Novemver, Team Anna got impatient and took to political route through Hissar by appealing the voters not to vote for Congress. It is haunting the minds of the people and they need answer from Anna Hazare in clear words why he took the route of electoral politics. If he fails to give valid and reasonable answer, his protest and fast against corruption will do nothing good but create confusion and diversion.

Whether Team Anna intends to defeat Congress or fight corruption must be clarified by Anna Hazare. Before the announcement of Anna’s appeal to Hissar voters, Anna and his team were undoubtedly apolitical. Their claim of being apolitical could not be contested. They target Congress party only, when no political party under our political spectrum is free from the charge of corruption. This reflects their bias against Congress.

If Congress party nominee is defeated in Hissar because of Anna’s appeal and its rival party nominee wins, who is also not free of corruption charges, what achievement in combating corruption would he get? After that what message would go from Hissar through out the country and Anna’s apolitical image? Anna’s appeal against the Congress before the winter session of Parliament is not only made in haste but also clearly reflects his political bias against the party.

Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat has openly stated that his organization had given support and its cadres participated in Anna’s Ramlila Ground protest against corruption, though Anna and his team refuted his claim very promptly, saying that all political party followers had supported his protests against corruption as citizens of India, which make them apolitical.

Though Anna and his team did not ever seek support for their protests from any political party in public, it appeared amply clear that thay enjoyed tacit support of the RSS and its political arm and the main opposition party the BJP if their leaders' expression of soft corner for protesters are any thing to go by. Congress always charged Anna and his team of being supported by RSS and BJP. Bhagwat’s recent statement vindicates it.

Undoubtedly, the honest and integrity of Anna Hazare can not be questioned. But his appeal against Congress party casts doubts on his apolitical character, that had drawn mammoth crowd so far unparallelled in recent history to the venue of his fast unto death strike for Jan Lokpal at Ramlila Ground in Delhi which bent not only the Dr Manmohan Singh –led UPA Government but also compelled the Parliament to respect Anna’s demand.

Anna Hazare has also announced that if the Government did not adopt the Jan Lokpal Bill in winter session, he would campaign against the Congress party in the poll-bound five state assembly elections early next year. But at the same time , he says that he has nothing to do with party politics and because of that he does not say who to vote, but not the Congress. It has left the people confused about his aim and vision. It is not possible to influence parliamentary democracy by being outside it. It would be better for Anna in the interest of the people of the nation not to deviate from his main mission- that is fight against corruption- and expose his political bias against the ruling party before the winter session of Parliament.

If the Government fails to adopt the stronger Lokpal Bill in winter session, he and his team would be morally right to go against the Congress in the coming assembly elections in five states.

Anna’s lieutenant Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sishodia are campaigning and appealing to voters fervently to teach the Congress party a lesson by thrashing its candidate in Hissar parliamentary by-election. They had to face strident opposition during their campaign so far. They did not face any kind of opposition during their 12-day protest at Ramlila Ground in Delhi because of their being apolitical. This must be realized by Anna Hazare and his team members of civil society. So, they must remain be apolitical.

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