Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?

Anna Hazare’s movement was not supposed to be about politics, it was supposed to be about corruption. But his associates have got into politics in a big way. It could be counterproductive.

Akshaya Mishra October 10, 2011 16:41:39 IST
Why can’t Team Anna wait until the Winter Session?

So Jan Lokpal Bill it is. 'The' Jan Lokpal Bill it has to be. Team Anna would settle for nothing less.

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal, key member of the team yesterday. The message: Parliament can go to hell. So can reasoned dabate. We won't accept if it comes up with a Lokpal Bill that is not the Jan Lokpal Bill.

It's still not clear why Team Anna cannot wait for the Winter Session of Parliament or allow the Standing Committee to study other suggestions on the Lokpal Bill and arrive at the best possible solution. It’s more confounding why it should take a controversial, and rather unnecessary, political position at this stage.

The lack of respect among the members of Team Anna for the august House was evident in the developments during second phase of Anna's fast which began on 16 August, Kejriwal has made it an unequivocal stand. So long as the government and the political parties were the enemy number one for Team Anna, it did not matter. But the issue moves to a different plane after this.

What if Parliament votes in favour of a bill which is not acceptable to Anna's associates? Does Anna announce "I am Parliament. My diktat is what the law of the land is". After that? By all indications, Team Anna won't find it repulsive. But political parties, who have taken opportunistic positions so far by trying to pander to the whims of Anna's associates, cannot kowtow for too long. A confrontation of a different kind is on the cards. This is likely to get interesting with Team Anna taking a partisan political position.

Why cant Team Anna wait until the Winter Session

Anna Hazare is bigger than Parliament, asserted Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

In the last few days the political leanings of Team Anna has got clearer. Though the team has been vehement in its denial of suggestions of political affiliation, by design or default it has positioned itself against the Congress and for the BJP. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has already spoken of the Sangh Parivar's support to the anto-corruption movement of Anna Hazare. In Hisar, the team is actively asking the electorate not to vote for the Congress. In Uttar Pradesh, which is headed for assembly polls early next year, it is likely to campaign against Mayawati and the Congress, thus serving as the non-political arm of the BJP.

Nothing exactly is wrong if Team Anna backs any political party — it's even better if it contests polls — but by positioning the popular movement cleverly to suit the interest of a few political players, it is committing a fraud on the supporters of the movement. If it backs the Congress and opposes the BJP in some other state in a balancing act, it won't mean much. The movement was supposed to stay focused on corruption only and not get distracted by delving into political mind games.

Again, it is curious that Team Anna would issue certificates of good conduct to political parties on the basis of their support to the Jan Lokpal Bill. It is clear that none of the parties agree completely on all the provisions of the bill and they have reservations on several important clauses. That they have issued letters of support to the bill is crass political opportunism. It does not amount to much at this point since they will come open with their objections and suggestions in Parliament when the government's bill is up for discussion. So what it is support of Team Anna to parties is all about?

Moreover, its support is not for clean candidates. The assumption is whoever backs the Jan Lokpal Bill is honest. That's is too unusual a position. The team is inadvertently treating the corrupt on different parameters: those who support us are clean and those who don't are not.

Should the anti-corruption movement get into all this?

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