The moot question is whether intermittent fasts and the demand to take action against some dubious Ministers will suffice in the struggle for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. Is Team Anna really sincere in its demand for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill or has it just got into the habit of jumping upon any issue and keeping their relevance intact one way or another?
Team Anna is going to sit on a fast once again. This time it is against tainted Cabinet Ministers whom Team Anna considers as the arch enemies of a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. Anna Hazare will not sit on fast this time. Instead Arvind Kejriwal along with his two associates will lead the movement at Jantar Mantar. The fast was slated to start from 25 July 2012 but till last reports came in, permission to hold the fast at Jantar Mantar had been denied. Team Anna wants the central government to register FIRs against 14 tainted Cabinet Ministers and also initiate speedy investigation. After an unsuccessful movement in Mumbai in December last year, Team Anna had organised a one-day fast at Jantar Mantar.
The billion rupee question is how the people of India can have a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. Merely by sitting on fast against detractors of the Jan Lokpal Bill or by defeating a ruling party or by a mass movement? Team Anna should think about the most suitable course of action.
Seven months have elapsed and in the mean time, Anna Hazare has not visited any part of the country except Maharashtra – his home state, while some of the members of his team have continued their tour. These members became all the more active during the Assembly Elections that were held recently in five north Indian states. They are now camping in Himachal Pradesh. Team Anna’s overstay in Himachal has raised some apprehensions.
The most relevant question is: what is the moral and material responsibility of Team Anna when they claim to lead a mass moveme
nt against the entire political class of the country? Neither Anna Hazare nor his comrades visited the length and breadth of the country to bridge the rural-urban divide and unite the people for waging a struggle. It seems only Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Haryana represent India for Team Anna which is why a member of Team Anna visited some villages of western UP under the banner of ‘Gram Samvad Yatra’ and thought this to be enough for gathering a large crowd at Jantar Mantar. Team Anna visited five states during the Assembly Elections to educate the voters, but what was the result?
Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party supremo) who always opposed the Jan Lokpal Bill won in UP with a thumping majority. It is true that corruption became an issue because of Anna and Ramdev and the youth have started thinking about this issue too. But why could such a powerful start not result in something more positive? In fact, Team Anna needs self-introspection. But they think turning their backs to the sun is the way out. It is a big challenge to motivate and mobilise people, and it is a bigger challenge to keep them going on the path of incessant struggle but Team Anna always dealt with this issue as per its convenience and political need.
Team Anna had started a discussion group called ‘Anna Charcha Samooh’ (Anna Discussion Forum). This group had been started to build a mandate against corruption at the grassroots level and to develop a consensus over the concept of local self-governance. A number of people from various part of the country participated in the programme. But Team Anna has started to use this Forum for seeking support for its hunger strikes. The billion rupee question is how the people of India can have a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. Merely by sitting on a fast against detractors of the Jan Lokpal Bill or by defeating a ruling party or by a mass movement? Team Anna should think about the most suitable course of action. Corruption is a big issue, but the energy of people should not be wasted as Team Anna is continuously changing its strategy and issues. In the mean time, the common man is getting confused and restive. The picture of the enemy is clear but they do not have any idea how to defeat this enemy. The results of the Assembly Elections are the best example of this ambiguity.