Monday, 3 June 2013


ANNA HAZARE, Social Worker

Elections are hard fought battle. It is not a theatre. The movement against corruption launched by Anna Hazare has been petered away in just two years. Thanks to politically ambitious followers of Anna who now move under the banner of Aam Admi Party or AAP. Decision of Arvind Kejriwal to contest against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit is welcome. But Kejriwal is greatly mistaken if he believes in soliciting support of voters in writing will make him win the assembly seat in the forthcoming elections to the Delhi Assembly sometime in November this year.

Had it been a stage performance, many artistes would have been in state legislatures and in Parliament. Anna Hazare began his movement on a serious note. He wanted do something that Jaya Prakash Narain did in 1974. JP’s movement was against corruption of the Congress Government then headed at the Centre by Indira Gandhi. The culmination of the movement was in formation of a united opposition under the banner of Janata Party.

I had the opportunity to be associated with JP during and after the movement. The multitude of people that thronged the meetings of JP was good enough to launch a political party of his own. But JP realized that the purpose of his movement was not to seek power but to unseat corrupt government and bring in a government that would not be anti-people. He did exactly the same and for the first time in post Independent India, Congress was defeated in 1977.

Anna Hazare wanted to drive home the point that political system can be cleansed not only by bringing electoral reforms but by making the masses aware of their voting right that can eliminate corrupt and criminal elements from our political system. A government that is accused of allowing deals, contracts and government favours to few individuals and groups who looted the public money running into lakhs of crores of rupees need to be overthrown. There was massive response from the people. But some ambitious activists of the Anna Movement played into the hands of the Congress and the UPA Government to deflect the movement of its momentum.

The movement instead of focusing on individual political parties should have gone for running campaign against corrupt and criminal politicians in their constituencies to ensure that a better person is elected. Anna Hazare realized that he was not Jaya Prakash Narain and was not in a position to launch a ‘defeat Congress movement’. Just by asking to bring in Jan Lokpal Bill, Anna was accused of playing at the hands of the BJP. When he raised his concern about corruption in Karnataka, then under BJP rule, the Congress looked the other way.

Originally he had planned to undertake a nationwide tour to propagate the message of reject politicians with dubious characters. People are disgusted with the blatant disregard of rule of law by the high and the mighty in the government. It is a chance to replace the inefficient and corrupt government at the Centre. This is the charm of democracy. But there is a crisis of leadership in the country. Someone apolitical like Anna Hazare would have shown the path. But his health and his age are not by his side. Arvind Kejriwal and his compatriots would be well advised to focus on bringing a change in the government but not necessarily a government of Aam Admi Party that is nothing but a day dream!

~ R. K. Sinha

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