National

Congress and BJP want to grab a share of the pie from Anna’s crusade

Anna Hazare virtually hijacked the corruption issue from the BJP. But towards whom he is tilted or who encouraged him to do so is a wild guess for every one of us to make. Congress and BJP want to extract political mileage out of Anna Hazare’s Satyagraha against corruption.

But the Big question: which party will aim the most from it. Or will Anna Hazare toe the line of Jayprakash Nayayan or VP Singh. The movement is likely to sail through if it is not jeopardised half way either by the planting of CDs or by dummy people. A controversial CD that allegedly showed Shanti Bhushan talking to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh about fixing a judge for Rs 4 crore. There are two reports now: in first place it was found to be fake and doctored but now police claim it is genuine which is why it is subject to further investigation? Both Congress and BJP have opened cans of worms to make their points heard and acknowledged. The CD was sent to various media houses by an anonymous sender and the blame game is on as to who is behind it and with what motives. People against it will use all in their might to scale down the rising graph of civil society. From here onwards the onus lies squarely on civil society to keep their flocks together till the marathon against corruption is over. The civil society is likely to face obstacles in various forms during the course of their action at regular intervals.

The seeds aimed at dividing the civil society and downplaying their rising clout have been sown at the initial stage and many more might be in store in the days ahead. The smear campaign against Anna’s close aides is also believed to have taken root in the aftermath of Anna’s all out praise for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Certainly those kind words for Narendra Modi even surprised the die hard followers of Anna Hazare. Some might suggest that Anna could have been launched by the Congress in order to snatch away the issue of corruption from the BJP. One can also speculate that BJP and RSS after having seen that the issue of corruption was not gaining momentum could have rubbed shoulders with Anna’s to thwart Congress attack on Hindu terror. Only Anna will have the answer.

Another implication of Anna’s crusade in the long run as mentioned by Jawed Anand in his article in Indian Express on 14 April as “Haven’t we lived through two nationwide anti-corruption movements before, the JP movement in the early ‘70s, the V.P. Singh movement in the late ‘80s? Neither of them succeeded in rooting out corruption. But both, however innocently and unwittingly, contributed to the poisoning of national politics. JP’s movement and the Janata government that followed gave respectability to Hindu communalism. The V.P. Singh government, opportunistically supported by the BJP from the outside, paved the way for the meteoric rise of the BJP - from two seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 to 79 in 1989 - which in turn laid the foundation for the first ever Hindutva-led government in New Delhi.” What should one expect from this movement towards the end.

Some could say that BJP may gain from Anna’s agitation while some believe that Anna seized the opportunity from the BJP and the party is now the biggest loser. BJP in all its might tried to highlight the issue of corruption and also forced the Congress to agree for a JPC on 2G Spectrum scam. Although there was anger in people over corruption yet BJP failed to tap people’s anger unlike Anna Hazare. People were not that impressed by the BJP’s tirade against corruption because they wanted it to be taken up by someone who is not tainted and is least corrupt as compared to others. Anna’s total land holding is 2.53 acres and out of which he has donated 2.46 acres. His total bank balance at present is Rs 67,188.36 and had Rs 1,500 in cash at the time when he disclosed his assets. People got impressed by his simplicity and his integrity. He may not be a saint but it is beyond doubt that he is more honest than the rest. And it was because of his credential people joined him in large numbers and the turn out from across India even surprised him. On the level of corruption all parties in one way or the other are on the same radar. And that is why their anti corruption appeal was not taken seriously by the people of India.

It was only when Hazare took the plunge it became a nationwide protest. But some may believe that government agreed to his demand as a tactical move and has been providing them with the ladder to climb up and at the same time trying to pull it down as well. Both the BJP and Congress want to manipulate the fallout of this agitation to their advantage and its implication would be put to test in the assembly elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh in 2012. Nitin Gadkari, who has caricatured his persona with loose talk and abusive language unlike any other BJP president in an election rally on 18 April in Varansi, said that politicians grovel like a dog when Mayawati sits on her chair. Now Gadkari wants to fight elections in Uttar Pradesh on the Gujarat model. Anna’s appreciation for Modi might have been in Gadkari’s mind when he said during an election rally recently at Meerut that Uttar Pradesh will grow like Gujarat if BJP is voted to power. All parties and people for sure may not ever wish to make Uttar Pradesh like Gujarat which is also notorious for the 2002 pogrom.

BJP may try to convince people that the corruption issue raised by the BJP was ultimately taken forward by Anna and his men. BJP forced the Congress to agree to a JPC on scam while Anna forced the government to accept a joint committee on Lokpal Bill. Congress on the other hand will try to cease the opportunity by claiming to have facilitated a Lokpal Bill after Right to Information Act 2005, which was pending for decades.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 8

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