Related previous note: http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-anna-is-allowing-this-to-happen.html
Nothing seems to go right again. And it might not be just my feeling. Things are getting worse now. Not the issue but the war of words is getting louder. Yesterday it was Sonia Gandhi’s turn to take on the Gandhian. In a speech prepared for Sonia Gandhi for her Uttarakhand visit on November 9 which she could not attend due to health reasons had this to say on the anti-corruption movement, "Corruption cannot be fought by thinking that corruption by us and our people is a pious act while that of others is corruption. This is what is happening these days", a direct attack on Anna Hazare and his side on recent controversies of financial irregularities associated with some Team Anna members. Her strong words didn’t end here. The speech had an extended dose of verbal volley, "Corruption cannot be fought by speeches alone." "Our Prime Minister has already said that the government is committed to passing a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament...so I don't understand why this noise?"
Team Anna didn’t react directly on it but chose to remind that it was yet again a toned up verbal attack. They welcomed Sonia’s speech about Lokpal commitment but said mere speeches would not do. But for members of a political party who see no political future without the Gandhi family, it was enough to send them in a recharge mode. So we had a soft spoken face as well as a face that had lost his face during the August Movement taking the charge aiding to the tirade of the likes of Digvijay Singh. We saw Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is completing one year in office tomorrow, advising Team Anna to fight election. Chavan had said, "If you want to take part in politics, you must join it; politics will be enriched. It is now amply clear that his associates want to join politics." He further said targeting Team Anna’s Hisar move, "A clear stance should be taken, whether to contest elections or to support (someone) in elections. But, there is no point in taking a negative stance, that if the (Jan Lokpal) bill is not passed, I will oppose (Congress)."
Anna hit back on it. He took exception to his comments saying, "Now it is being said that Anna should fight elections. Does it mean that if somebody is speaking against corruption, he has to fight elections? If so, then 120 crore people in the country should stand for elections and they can speak against corruption only after that."
Another development was RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement where he said, "We were with him. We are with him," further he said, "Nobody officially sought RSS support for the anti-corruption movement, and we also did not extend any help to anyone officially."
So the message was loud and clear. RSS supported the movement but no-one from the Anna side had requested for it. As usual, the Congress party grabbed the opportunity to launch yet another verbal duel. And so we had someone like Manish Tiwari, almost berated by everyone, to comment this, "RSS is repeatedly saying that it supports Hazare. If Anna Hazare finds any contradiction in what RSS is saying or if he thinks RSS is not speaking the truth, why doesn’t he say it in clear terms? "There is this cat and mouse game that is going. One organisation says, we are supporting, the other says are not taking support. The truth behind it must come out in public."
There was no reason to be defensive on it. But as always, Anna chose to clear him as if he was feeling implicated. He also spoke on Sonia’s speech. He had this to say, "I have no relations with the RSS. Let them say whatever they want. Yesterday Sonia Gandhi said something....They are just targeting me. The world knows who Anna is. What need is for me to be with them."
It was when Mohan Bhagwat had very clearly said in the same speech that this anti-corruption movement was brainchild of Anna Hazare. He had said, "...The movement is his(Hazare) brainchild, he developed it. People see RSS is behind Anna what can I say about that. In our individual capacity our volunteers have the permission to support the movement,"
It is the grey area where Team Anna needs to work and work fast. When Prithviraj Chavan can say he would oppose Congress if it doesn’t pass the Lokpal Bill, why can’t Team Anna boldly reject every such ‘political ambition’ or ‘RSS-crap’ of the Congress party saying they would welcome all irrespective of any affiliations who sincerely identify with anti-corruption movement. But that is not happening. Instead, its reaction on RSS and political moves every time emboldens the government to target it even more. And it has been due to the fact that Team Anna has not been able to conceptualize and implement its strategic acts to connect and spread the Lokpal message post August 28.
And really Team Anna has not achieved anything but controversies post August 28, 2011. Mostly they have been engaged in verbal duels, rhetoric, backtracking on their statements, internal differences and revolt – almost playing in the hands of the government.
With much hype they embarked on the UP tour to educate people on Lokpal but such campaigns are not conducted the way they were conducted. Visiting a city for a day, addressing a small gathering and holding a press conference, and that, too, by 2/3 similar faces with no local support base – I think these were not supposed to be seminar sort of meetings aimed at limited audience. Some real ground work was needed to be done and that remains valid even if the Lokpal Bill is passed. We need to remember we have largest written constitution in the world yet most of the administrative institutions seem to be in disarray at the moment, even after 61 years of its existence.
And so very rationally, Team Anna and the common man cannot claim any tangible gain from the UP tour and it equally holds true even for the Hisar election outcome. No one can talk confidently of the Anna factor in elections except Team Anna and some media analysts till we see the outcome of larger electoral canvas, an opportunity that we will have in 2012 assembly elections.
All the government wants is to divert the attention away from the core issue of strengthening the Lokpal Movement (that needs diversifying the team and the message so that it can maximize its outreach) and for the moment they seem to have the upper hand.