‘They should have stepped up the pressure on the Government from outside’

Team Anna’s decision to embrace electoral politics as a means to fight corruption has triggered a debate among supporters of social activist Anna Hazare, with many expressing scepticism over the future of the anti-corruption movement.

The prevailing confusion was palpable at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday afternoon with Anna’s supporters discussing the pro and con of floating a political party. “A few days after they sat on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar, Team Anna members accused all political parties of not being committed to a strong Lokpal Bill. And now they have also decided to join politics. They should have stepped up the pressure on the Government from outside by involving more people,” said Sanjay, a resident of neighbouring Ghaziabad.

However, Sanjay’s friend Pradeep had a different view. “They did whatever they could to get a strong anti-corruption law. They interacted with the political parties, sought their support, sought suggestions from the public and the intelligentsia, had meetings with the Government representatives and galvanised public support during the past 16 months. They earlier sat on fast three times, resolutions were passed in Parliament to include the demands put forth by Annaji, but we are yet to see a strong Lokpal Bill. They were left with no option, but to provide a political alternative to the people of India,” he said.

Dressed up as Hindu deity Hanuman, with his body pained in Tri-colour, Kailash Singh from Ujjan in Madhya Pradesh said: “I have been part of this movement since day one. I have come hear only because I have tremendous faith in Anna Hazare, I cannot vouch for other team members. I do not see myself as part of a political movement,” he said.

‘Where will they get funds to fight polls?”

A young engineer, who did not wish to be named, said: “I have written to Annaji and Kiran Bedi on the issue of joining politics. For the past several years, I have been into social work despite my family commitments. However, politics is an altogether different ball game. It tends to make people corrupt. From where will they get funds to fight elections?” he asked.

However, confident about the success of the new strategy adopted by Anna Hazare and his team, Rama Raghavan of Chennai said: “In the process, people will reject corrupt politicians and elect clean candidates. The common man will be empowered. In the past few months, Annaji has awakened the conscious of the masses all across the country and this time, they will certainly come out and elect the right people,” she said.

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