From standing together while announcing the creation of a political alternative, social activists Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal seem to be on diverging paths, with the former indicating that he still favours continuing a non-political movement against corruption.
Following their fast in New Delhi and announcing the creation of a political alternative against corruption, the duo seem to have differing interpretations of the path to be taken in the future. For Kejriwal, the political alternative initially was nothing short of forming a functioning political party, one that he will launch soon. On 8 September, Kejriwal was reported to have said that he would take people’s response on whether they want him to form a political party or not.
Hazare, on the other hand, has repeatedly stressed that he would not be part of any political party and would not contest the election.
In his latest video shot in his hometown of Ralegan Siddhi on Friday, Hazare perhaps offers some understanding of the effectiveness of political and non- political alternatives to fight corruption. He falls short of saying that he never wanted Kejriwal to take political plunge, but his four-minute-long speech makes it quite clear that he prefers social movements over politics. (See the video here)
Here’s the highlights of what Anna had to say in the video:
A majority of supporters do not favour the political route: In the days to come, Arvind Kejriwal is expected to speak about whether people are supporting him in his political initiative. But Anna, perhaps, already knows the result due to his consultations with people. It appears that far more people have spoken to Anna against the idea of political party, than in favour of one.
“Kayi log bolte hain party nikaalna hai (many people say that there should be a party),” he said, referring to members of erstwhile Team Anna including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai. He then goes on to speak about people who do not want the movement to turn political . “Bade paimaane par (a larger number had opposed)”, he said.
Anna will go with what the majority decides: It still isn’t clear if Anna Hazare will launch the political party IAC plans to and how he will back it. In his video Hazare reiterated that personally, he was never for politics.
Hazare said that when he was 26-years-old, he decided that he would not be associated with any political party or contest elections. “Never go for a political party. A social movement should remain just that. I believe this,” he warned his supporters in the video. Ironically, to substantiate his point, Hazare cites the example of the JP Movement.
“Jai Prakash Narayan never thought of entering politics to bring change and yet was successful in teaching a lesson to the government,” he said.
Cleaning Parliament without entering it: In politics, the common belief is that it’s impossible to avoid getting your hands dirty. However, that doesn’t fit in with Anna’s ideology. It is not necessary to form a political party to send clean candidates to Parliament, said Hazare. It cannot be done overnight and would need various social movements across the country to come together . A different approach would be needed with social movements using their energies towards sending clean candidates to parliament rather than going to government with their demands, He said.
All this, without entering politics, says Hazare. “Paksh party ko nahin dekhna (do not go for party politics). We will not contest elections. But if we are able to send honest candidates to parliament, we can resolve all the issues raised by various social movements across the country. Victory will be ours,” he said.
Anna’s latest address offers hope for those who want to persist with a non-political movement and want the social activist’s backing. What cements it though, is Hazare ending his post saying you can tell him if you are game for a ‘naya aandolan’ (new movement).