Team Anna is dissolved to pursue its political objectives, Anna Hazare is back in Ralegan Siddhi and the political front likely to be headed by Arvind Kejriwal and other anti-corruption activists is likely to contest the 2014 polls despite obvious shortcomings in its functioning and plans. But does the diversion from their original plan mean they are a spent force and don’t deserve people’s support?
Anna Hazare in his blog post yesterday had declared the termination of the committee that had been dubbed Team Anna and also reiterated his unwillingness to participate in any political plans they might have. While many, including political parties, have warmly welcomed the anti-corruption crusaders into politics, why would they bring about any change?
According to psephologist Yogendra Yadav, there is no shame in being associated with the Team Anna movement particularly given the insensitivity of the political class and the activism of the protestors.
In an editorial in the Indian Express, Yadav admitted that he had also been uncomfortable initially with the movement and its self righteousness, but having seen many political movements that failed to take off he found potential in the political plans that Kejriwal has drawn up.
So why support Team Anna then? This is what Yadav had to say:
I wish to draw her attention to a deeper paradox of modern politics: politics opens at once the possibility of ethics in public life and also becomes the source of its routine negation. In our times, the pursuit of goodness draws you to politics, at the same time immersion in politics has a built-in drag away from goodness. For those who keep their eyes, ears and soul open, political choices are always very delicate, very complex, very painful.
Admittedly the journey for Kejriwal and his supporters is only going to get more painful as they continue their foray into politics. Many joined the movement since it was an “us versus them” and suddenly after entering politics, they’re no longer the outsiders.
Apart from participating in rallies, supporters now have to do everything they looked down upon in political parties, have to take decisions that go beyond mobilisation and have ideologies that stretch beyond only anti-corruption. And then there’s funding for the political party that can easily put them on a crash course with occasional ally, Baba Ramdev and his crusade against black money.
No matter how idealistic every political party has been in its origin, as Yadav points out, it finally divides opinion among its erstwhile supporters as it adapts to the world of Indian politics. However, it needn’t mean that there is anything shameful in entering politics, not for a middle class that has constantly maintained a arms length distance from it at all times.
And it certainly doesn’t mean there is any shame in supporting the movement even as it metamorphoses into a political entity. The existence and potential success of the political movement still holds out hope for independent politics in India and that can never be something to be ashamed of.