The result of Hisar by-election is being read in many ways by the political pundits. The event kick-started the anti-Congress campaign of Team Anna. It seems as if Team Anna has taken it to itself to be the panacea of all ills in Indian political landscape. Its first detour from the basic objective of getting the Jan Lokpal Bill legislated came when it called for electoral reforms. It included introduction of negative voting and the recalling of sitting legislators. In this context, campaigning in Hisar should have been about making the voters aware about the credentials of all the candidates. The choice of candidate should have been left to the ‘informed’ citizenry.
Fight against corruption should not be limited to the political party in power at the centre. It is endemic to the whole political system. It is questionable if Team Anna’s intervention had any role to play in the defeat of Congress candidate and the forfeiture of his security deposit. However, the way Team Anna is meddling in the actual political process puts a big question mark on its often claimed apolitical overtures. With the eyes now set on the UP assembly elections, it may do further disservice to its own cause. Anna, himself has been vacillating between the stands of giving Congress a breather till the Winter session of Parliament on one hand and personally entering the anti-Congress campaign in UP on the other. Focus needs to be shifted back to the Jan Lokpal Bill. The support that Team Anna garnered was for this basic agenda. It cannot keep stacking newer agendas on it, hoping that all its wishes will be fulfilled within the ambit of this single movement.
It is true that Congress has been making many political manoeuvrings inside and outside the Parliament to stall the passing of a meaningful Jan Lokpal Bill. However, Anna should continue using the civil society route to bring to light such practices. He might have testified it many a times that he is having no political ambitions. But this might not be true for his foot-soldiers. It is a known fact that one of the Team Anna members resigned from the police services on being bypassed for a coveted office. So to claim that the people behind this movement are above such power motives will be naïve. In this context, taking the fight to political arena will only make things more complex. Moreover, the movement may also lose a considerable chunk of sympathisers if it gets reduced to anti-Congress from anti-Corruption.
The movement is already being negatively affected by the incoherent statements coming out of the Team Anna camp. While Anna and other members have distanced themselves from Prashant Bhushan’s statement on Kashmir, Santosh Hegde has openly shown his displeasure over Kejriwal’s move to meddle in the Hisar by-elections. As Anna sits on a week-long vow of silence for ‘peace of soul’, two prominent activists P V Rajagopal and 'Waterman' Rajinder Singh quit its core committee over the latter issue of ‘political turn’ of movement. Democracy within the movement should definitely be appreciated. All the members should have a right to voice their personal opinions on different issues. However, for the sake of Jan Lokpal Bill, some coherence is needed. Any such incoherent statements and infighting give the detractors an opportunity to make a mountain out of a molehill. Therefore, it is important for Anna to bring together his foot-soldiers and unify the camp. This is a prerequisite to sustain the battle against the indifference of the political honchos towards an effective Jan Lokpal Bill.
P.S. This is the first draft of my editorial for our Lab Journal in ACJ to be published this Saturday
Designed by me