What Fails team Anna?
By Amitabh Tripathi
Last year at the same days if you had raised the questions about the method or working style of team Anna you had almost been categorized as heretic and stooge to corrupt politicians. After one year the dwindling crowds tell the story of the maturity of Indian society to distinguish between reality show demonstrations and movements with deeper strategy and strength. It is hard to believe that team Anna honestly believes that poor show of gathering at Jantar Mantar in their hunger strike is not going to affect their morale and negotiating leverage with Government because if I can recollect correctly it was Arvind Kenjariwal himself said in a program organized by Times Now and Anchored by Aranb Goswami in Kolkata this year where before public in an auditoriam and law minister Salaman khursheed was also part of that discussion that if any group has numbers and support behind it force the government to negotiate with it. Now the same team has changed its stance and argued about the resolve and will power rather than mob.
It is not heartening to watch the slow death of a massive mobilization of people and building of a movement to force the nation and establishment to think to come out with ways to fight the menace of corruption which is one of the main hindrances of growth story of nation.
It will be equally difficult in coming days to flame such energy and motivation for the same cause. If you go to the streets and talk to common man everyone is concerned how a bunch of immature people aborted the possibilities of a movement.
At this point of time it is conducive and advisable to talk about the reason of failures of team Anna.
First and most important factor which insured its phenomenal success last year in the month of August was the mistreatment of Government with the demonstration of Baba Ramdev is month of June last year. Although government exposed Baba with his agreed letter and creating doubts in the minds of people about the fixing of his demonstration but at the same time the use of force to disperse the crowd in the midnight was not only the naked display of arrogance from the government side but giving a sense to the public that it will forcefully shut the mouth of opposition. On the one hand people were finding them under pressure of unmanageable price rise and petrol price and other hand the daily news of scams and perception of fixing between ruling coalition and opposition on the issue of price rise and corruption made them impatient to come out on street in anyway.
The maltreatment of government with the demonstration of Baba Ramdev and issue of price rise along with inaction of opposition political force provided an opportunity for people to manifest their anger when Anna Hazare was arrested in August last year. These circumstances forced other social organizations to provide strategic support to this movement. This phenomenal movement created panic button and termers establishment for a time being but after that few suicidal steps were being taken or statements were being given from Team Anna when their real test for maturity came in scrutiny.
After August success Aravind Kejariwal directly addressed RSS chief not to take credit for providing any cooperation in movement as it was visible from every angle that from management to mob most of the assistance have been provided by RSS cadres and its affiliate organizations. RSS chief always maintains dignity and millions of millions of followers of RSS keep him in high regard and Arvind Kejariwal fired first salvo which painted him in circle which put question mark in minds of many who were supporting his movement.
Since day first Team Anna declares they are not doing politics but their election campaign in Hisar proved them as part of political wheel and when they started their campaign in UP they did not utter a single word against the corruption of SP and BSP and even in the state where congress was a marginal player they continued to attack congress vehemently. People find it more than struggle for Lokpal.
Then came the controversy of prashant Bhushan and his poisonous remark on the Kashmir. Given the emotions involve with the issue of Kashmir it fractured the unity among Team Anna and raised several doubts among the people of country.
When once emotions and anger of the people die down to some level they started to judge the whole demand of Team Anna in the rational way and when it was tested the version of government finds more takers as the whole idea of Lokpal is fussy and it will make situation more complex rather than solving the problem of corruption.
Few days ago I asked to young software engineer about the idea of lokpal how he perceive it he said it seems team Anna suggest for a new system above all In the name of fight against corruption which is not accountable to anyone and it smells something like dictatorship. This is a remarkable shift which in last one year has taken place in the minds of those who were the torchbearers of this movement.
The real problem with this movement solely have been not the arrogance of few individuals or strategic mistakes to get in to the trap of government of secular and communal debate the real tragedy is the definition of corruption. If someone has to fight its enemy it must be defined first and here it was not the case. Team Anna fall in the trap of government by polarizing the debate as we Vs the whole system. As it has been the case after 9\11 with president of USA George W Bush those who are not with us are against us. Team Anna behaves in that way as those who are raising any debate or rational questions on Janlokpal were somehow branded as part of corruption and supporting it. Taking on the whole political system was as wrong strategy as it was to waste energy to dissociating itself from RSS.
Since independence there are only two decisive forces Congress and RSS and if anyone has to take on the Congress they will never succeed without the support of RSS as earlier JP and VP Singh had to take the support of RSS whether they like it or not.
In this part of movement of Team Anna it has become clearer that they took the issue of corruption to polarize the polity in a way to become the centrist force to replace Congress or later become part of its wider coalition. It is very interesting to watch since news broke out of clandestine meet between Anna and Law minster Salman Khursheed Anna Hazare himself is talking more about political alternate.
I predict that in near future Team Anna will work more to break the unity of opposition and occupy the political space which have been vacated by the fall of communist ideology and erosion of Congress. In politics anything happens the movement which started as centre right now becomes centre left.