If there is a time for Anna Hazare to orient the members of his now disbanded Team, it is now. Two of the most prominent leaders of India Against Corruption (IAC), the movement he headed for 18 months, appear to be on different paths about taking the movement forward.
Primarily because there is a clear divide between Bedi and Kejriwal over attacking the political establishment.
When Kejriwal announced his plan of ‘gheraoing’ the residence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Bedi distanced herself from the movement.
“It was the ruling party (Congress) that did not let the Lokpal Bill pass when it could have. That is the main obstruction here. Attack should be focused on the Congress,” she told Firstpost.
But Kejriwal defended his actions saying that the Congress and BJP are two sides of the same coin when it comes to corruption. And he has Hazare’s support on this strategy.
“”Those whose hands are blackened are levelling allegations (of corruption) against each other. People have to think now, no side or party, will give future to the country. If the future is to be given to the nation, then those who have foresight should be sent to Parliament, don’t see any side or party, from it. This country’s future will not be bright,” Economic Times quoted Hazare as saying.
When asked if she has conveyed her opinion over attacking the Opposition to Anna Hazare, Bedi said she could not talk to Hazare as he was in Bangalore for a retreat.
The second issue of discord that Bedi wants Anna to resolve is about the options people have to work for a strong Lokpal.
The general perception is that IAC’s Jan Lokpal movement has been converted into a political alternative and what the initiative was working for so far, will now be attained through a political route.
Kejriwal saying that no political party in the current establishment will deliver a Jan Lokpal only confirms the belief that passage of a strong Lokpal bill will be high on the priority list of the political alternative in the making. Hazare took a similiar stand in his blog while dissolving Team Anna.
However, since the announcement of the plan to enter electoral politics, the now dissolved Team Anna has not hinted at any forum/ movement other than the political alternative that will towards the cause of Jan
Bedi told Firstpost that after calling off the agitation at Jantar Mantar on 3 August , Hazare kept open two, approaches to bringing about the Lokpal: those who wanted to join the political party can do so and other members of the IAC could continue to focus on the Jan Lokpal movement.
The social activist said that while presently the thrust is on the political party, there is hardly anyone working for the Jan Lokpal movement.
“I am for focussing on the core reason for which IAC came into being- a strong Lokpal. We have not achieved that yet. It is fine if some members decided to enter into electoral politics, but it should not be done at the cost of Lokpal movement,” Bedi said, adding that Anna should do a clear demarcation on who will focus on the political alternative and who will go with Lokpal movement.
“The same people cannot work on both,” she said.
Along with Kejriwal’s political rally which was visible in the national capital last Sunday, Bedi believes there is space for those who want to refrain from such methods but still work for a strong Lokpal bill.
Therefore, Bedi says, hers is a fight for co- existence of political and non-political alternatives for Lokpal, when there is no clarity on how one goes about the latter. More than wanting Hazare to show if he was with her or Kerjiwal, Bedi wants him to spell a clear strategy for those like her who were for in favour of Jan Lokpal via a non- political route.
Her recent tweets are about the elements and strategy of the movement she is vying for. IAC needs Anna back in the centre to take the movement forward in its non political, neutral and inclusive formation, Bedi tweeted on Wednesday.
“A movement which stays focused in ways others than engaging in gheraos of all. Focus on LPBill and Right to Reject (sic),” she tweeted.
Some like Dr Devendra Sharma, a founder member of the IAC, is not in favour of Anna intervening to get things in favour of Bedi.
“I think it is useless to ask Anna to intervene here. Since they have announced a political alternative, I dont think there is scope for a non- political movement. If such parallel movement, as the one demanded by Dr Bedi is launched, then all their efforts and campaigning will ultimately benefit the political party only,” he said.
Perhaps its time that Anna should make it clear if he is fine with Kejriwal and Bedi taking different approaches for Lokpal. If he is, he should work on or at least supervise the intricacies of the non-political approach to Lokpal so that the two streams compliment each other rather than defeating the purpose of each other’s existence. Chances of overlap will always be there, clearly defined functions and role division can make sure that both, Kejriwal and Bedi work on parallel tracks.