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Anna protest against corruption: Is he still a crowd maker?

Anna Hazare, an ex-army man from Ralegan Siddhi, who shook the nation by his non violent ways by sitting on indefinite fast, is a role model for many. He along with his activist group started a campaign 'India against Corruption' which struck the chord of every Indian.They drew large support from people of India who already had enough with the corruption fever. Anna Hazare, who had history of getting his terms by indefinite fasts, proved again that this non violent way is still effective.

Many years back, he transformed his village Ralegan Siddhi from a poor, deprived, diseased village into one of the most developed villages of india. He changed the village ecologically and financially, developing grain banks and rectifying minor issues like alcohal, drugs etc. In 1991, he started Bhrastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan and caused suspension of few corrupt forest officials. In later years, he fought for many reasons and almost every time his demands were agreed upon. In 2011, he demanded a stronger Lokpal bill to fight against corruption. Santosh Hegde drafted the Jan Lokpal Bill which was rejected by the Prime Minister calling it undemocratic. On May 5, 2011 Anna Hazare started 'Jail Bharo Andolan' and started demanding a stronger Lokpal bill at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. He was supported by a large number of celebrities and politicians. It drew a large support from every people who were already very much dissapointed by the inefficiency of Government and corruption in each and every department. Media and people made him as "Second Gandhi" who is fighting for the cause of Indian people. After this, Government made a drafting committee including members from both Government and Anna's team. In August, Anna launched his second attack on Government that drew even more supporters from every part of country. This time, Anna wanted even more stronger Lokpal bill. Again he started his fast on 27th December but had to withdraw it due to health problems.

In December, the crowd at MMRDA ground was shockingly low. Only few thousand people showed up. But the answers to this question that why the support base of Anna fell, can be many. The first and the main reason can be the corruption among the Anna team members itself. As the Government started enquiring about the accounts of many like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal etc, a large number of irregularities started coming up. It started projecting an image that many of Hazare's team members are corrupt and using money of people in wrong works. Another reason was the rigid attitude of Anna Hazare. He Wanted to centralise too much power in the hands of Lokpal by including PM and Judiciary under Lokpal's ambit. Judiciary and PM symbolises India and represents country on the international front. So it was not necessary to include them under Lokpal. After this, regular press conferences of Anna and his team caused many remarks and comments which were not digested by the common man. Government branded him as the puppet in opposition's hand as initially Anna started publicity against the UPA. He was branded as 'Anti Congress Pro BJP'. He also supported RSS and Narendra Modi which didn't go well with minorities. Then one of his biggest blunders was support of slapping by an agitated person to Union minister Sharad Pawar. It was contrary to his Gandhian non violent image. Along with this, all members of Anna's team kept on commenting everyday which bored the common people.

Media tried to make Anna Hazare superhero of this century but after sometime, it appeared that the superhero has lost his powers. Everyone wants result in this dynamic society. But the constant and monotonous ways of the team Anna forced people to change their TV channels. Many analysts branded the Lokpal bill as unconstitutional also. Debates started that whether the bill is pro-democratic or anti-democratic. The period from August to December proved as the image destructing period for Anna's team. Government also left no stone unturned to prove that Anna's team are themselves swimming in pool of corruption. This psychological attacks split the team also. Two members of Anna's team backed out saying that Anna has lost the way in middle. This all created a negative impression in the mind of rural and urban people and biased their thinking patterns.

Kisan Baburav Hazare, no doubt, is an honest man. But, being honest only, is not everything mainly in a country in which every strata of people is suffering from this epidemic of corruption which is hampering the development. Anna Hazare became a lamp that ended all its oil after sometime pushing people back again in the darkness of confusion. Anna Hazare could have compromised on some points in the Lokpal bill which would have atleast not projected his rigid mentality. Due to this, Lokpal bill may have been passed and his team would have been getting some creditibility. Also his wrong choice of team backfired. He should have walked alone and should have judged peole correctly. Now only a new miracle and very solid agenda can bring him back. He needs a new policy with strong leadership. Till then, he will have to wait.

kaustubh verma