Thousands had congregated at the India Gate in Delhi and in different cities in India to celebrate a victory that even previous of our generations hadn’t witnessed. A Gandhian had brought down to knees one of the worst governments at the helm of affairs in India - worst in terms of common man friendliness.
What else can we say when a government led by an intellectual with 'still maintaining perception of personal integrity of character' looks to circumvent all that is needed to be done primarily?
And it radicalized the need of reforms even more.
Why to talk only about economic reforms?
Why not to discuss the governance deficit and reforms?
These were the high points on the thought process that a common man was deliberating on the significant day of August 28, 2011 when Anna Hazare had broken his Fast on his terms. That was the day of huge symbolic victory for the common man.
Two months to that, we are facing grave risks that can dent the supremacy of that symbolic gain. After series of flip-flops and negative steps by members of Anna Hazare’s team and even by Anna Hazare himself, we had some reasons to think positively, when Anna Hazare had written on his blog last week clearing the air on many of the contentious issues. Among these were restructuring of his core team, expansion of the Lokpal Movement, not taking anti-Congress stand in elections and promoting internal democracy among the volunteers.
A week after that, all that seems to be in tatters!
The media that was drafting his powerful imagery is now questioning the developments that have potential to sacrifice the Lokpal Movement, be it Indian media or the international media. And they have valid reasons.
Anna’s aides have faced serious allegations. A devoted supporter of Kiran Bedi opined the loss to the Movement due to her inflated bill controversy was irreparable. Similar sentiments can be heard about Arvind Kejriwal’s autocratic ways or Bhushan’s controversial past. Sometimes Anna seems to be clear on his course of action, sometimes he looks confused. He can easily get many eminent persons to spearhead the Lokpal Movement across the country. Why is he taking so much of time when it is slipping out? Why can’t the Lokpal Movement have more faces than this trio?
His blog controversy is another blot. He now disowns one of the best entries on it – on restructuring of the Lokpal Movement - as stated in the blog that he now says was not by him and that again raises a pertinent question – why he kept silent for so many days? – Logic of ‘vow of silence’ would not suffice here.
When Anna broke his 19-day vow of silence, it didn’t bring positives but generated some more negative vibes. He attacked the government again engaging in verbal duel. He backtracked and said he would go for anti-Congress campaign in the elections if the Lokpal Bill is not passed by the Winter Session.
Why didn’t he realize the August Fast placed him much ahead of any of political figure of India? He didn’t seem to realize it during the last two months? He is still not realizing it. His silence on government’s attempts to malign his credentials would have been the most apt and direct reply to the loose cannons like Digvijay Singh. But by replying on every move of the government and answering every Tweet and letter of the likes of Digvijay Singh, he is undermining his own sanctity as every such move gives rise to another such move of controversy.
As with any mass movement against the system, here, too, the daily lives of every member of the Lokpal Movement is under public scrutiny. Anna has announced a committee today to probe into the charges against his core committee members, something he should have done much earlier. Also, keeping those members in the front would only give more ammunition to the propagandists of the government. Here lies the weakness of the Movement, absence of faces that could come forward and be its visible faces, which Anna should have addressed much earlier. But even after the recent (much hyped) reports and demands on restructuring the Movement, nothing seems to move on the ground. No doubt contributions of the trio in the Lokpal Movement are beyond any speculation but given the flurry of controversies, they should be given the other roles like strengthening the Movement away from the lens-glare till they come clean.
Here we need to keep in mind another balancing act. A movement like Lokpal is not about being lens-friendly. It is much beyond that. Media needs stories and it will follow. Can we deny sincerity of Medha Patkar? We cannot but certainly she doesn’t look eager to come under the limelight. The scale that the Movement has achieved takes it to the psyche of the common man and this realm has to be widened. That would be done in an efficient way if the leaders of the Movement devote more time in the hinterlands than in TV studios or in holding press conferences to counter the verbal volleys of the government. Why dissipating energy and risking the Movement for some petty facial show-off?
Anna needs to realize Lokpal is not like his other missions, restricted in scale and scope, it is pan-India and Anna certainly needs lieutenants beyond this trio. As of now he doesn’t seem to act on this thought – a must have for the success of the Lokpal Movement, more so after confusing signals from the government on the shape, formation and enactment of the Lokpal Bill.
Why Anna is allowing this to happen? India cannot afford it.