In spite of the anti-corruption movement starting out as apolitical, the circumstances in the country are forcing Anna Hazare and his associates to turn towards electoral politics, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi, said on Friday. She was addressing reporters at the ‘India Against Corruption’ protest site in Pune.
Responding to a question from The Hindu, Ms. Bedi said, “By choosing the right candidates and fielding them in the elections, Anna Hazare will clean up politics for you. It is the circumstances which are forcing the movement to take this direction.” She stated that the country needs honest politicians as an alternative.
“By saying Anna will enter politics, why are you giving it [the movement] a bad name?” she asked.
Asked if she would contest elections as suggested by Mr. Hazare in an interview to a TV channel, Ms. Bedi parried a direct answer. “I want to be a part of the national movement. It will continue as an awakening. These [the decision to join active politics] are very important choices to make. I would like to travel the country with Anna. I don’t want to reduce myself to one vote in Parliament,” Ms. Bedi said.
As for the low turnout at the Jantar Mantar, where Mr. Hazare and Team Anna members have been protesting since July 25, Ms. Bedi turned the heat on the media. “Isn’t this your movement? Don’t you want a corruption-free country?” she asked. “We have been told by journalists themselves that the media has been ordered to downplay the agitation, by the government. The government is scared that the movement is questioning their survival. You do your job, we will do ours.”
“The media doesn’t see that Anna is in every Indian’s heart. The nation has demanded change,” she said. “The movement is progressing as we had expected it to…Whoever isn’t here [at Jantar Mantar], their heart is with the movement,” she said.