Analysis

Team Anna’s Political Ploy: Muslims Ignored

Politically, as Indian citizens the so-called members of Team Anna have the democratic right to raise their voice on issues concerning them. They have been doing so for several months now, drawing attention to the need of a strong Lok Pal bill and their fight against corruption. Claiming to have no association with any political party, they are engaged in campaigning actively, asking the voters to exercise their electoral right by choosing the candidates with a “clean” image and who would support a strong Lok Pal bill. There appears to be a severe lacuna in their campaign-drive. Either they are totally confused about what political system should prevail in the country or they are deliberately indulging in this move with a set political purpose.

Considering that Indian political system is primarily based on parties, which are bound to follow the country’s Constitution, is Team Anna trying to damage this very system? Does this explain that the team has not announced the name of any party it is associated with nor it has launched any party? None of the team members are contesting assembly elections. If the team was strongly against the party-system, the members would not have praised Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri (BJP), as they began their campaign from this state. Nor would they have used the same occasion to criticize Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Howsoever hard they try in appearing politically neutral, it is now fairly well-known that the team has the support of Sangh Parivar. The primary motive of this team’s electoral campaign is to ensure political gains for BJP by targeting the Congress and other rival parties in the assembly elections.

 In fact, it would not be wrong to state that the entire drive, over the past few months, has been planned primarily for political purposes. This includes the hunger-strike and other tactics indulged in at Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan a few months ago. The manner in which the show had been managed from day one has helped in projecting Anna Hazare as a prominent leader and provided substantial publicity to all his team members. The media has helped in pushing Hazare and his team to the forefront, which is what the Sangh Parivar apparently desired. With the basic ground work, where media-publicity is concerned, taken care of, the team assumes itself to be well-prepared as it is reaching out to the public for their electoral support.

Electorally speaking, how well prepared can the team really be viewed as? The team hardly gives the impression of representing even marginally any of the five states facing assembly elections. The team is totally devoid of any minority representation. Where is a Muslim and a Christian in this team? Gender-wise, the team has only one female member, which hardly matches the prominence rival parties have given to women. Congress has Sonia Gandhi in the lead and Priyanka going out to help Rahul secure gains in Uttar Pradesh. The most prominent party at present in UP (BSP) is led by a woman, Mayawati, the state’s Chief Minister.

Why has the team not given substantial importance to including Muslims and other minorities? Interestingly, even Dalit-factor has been ignored. So far the team has not made any effort to project its Dalit-strategy to the voters and also to the media. The explanation is simple. The minority factor and the Dalit-card bear little social and political importance for Sangh Parivar, the real self-confessed backbone of Team Anna. Their members as well as their political strategies have apparently been decided by Sangh Parivar. In other words, they are in the game for political purpose, with the principles linked with Lok Pal bill and corruption only serving as a means to gain media and public’s attention.  

The timing of their drive only proves the last point further. Hazare is not a new entrant on the Indian socio-political stage. Members of his team are also not politically naïve. Nor can they be called, age-wise, young blood enthused with a revolutionary fire to cleanse the Indian system. Were Hazare and his team members so concerned about these issues, why didn’t they raise their voice earlier? They may have still remained out of the fray - as they were not too long ago - if they were not propped up for political purposes.

Were crucial assembly elections scheduled for the coming year, in all probability the Ram Lila Maidan-drama would not have been staged in 2011, but would have been put up this year. This also explains the team’s silence on issues concerning minorities, particularly Muslims, including the Gujarat-carnage and fake encounters. Whatever the Muslims have suffered from in these and similar cases also reflect the corrupt nature of ones who permitted the same and those who turned a blind eye towards them. Team Anna is naturally quiet on these issues as they do not serve political interests of the Sangh Parivar. They are in the electoral fray for select political motives and not for principles they claim to espouse!

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2012 on page no. 11

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