Even as anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare appealed to his supporters not to pay attention to “disinformation and distractive campaigns” being unleashed against him, the Congress on Wednesday said no initiative, however genuine, should undermine democracy.
The veiled message came from Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari in response to a query as towhether the party believed that Mr. Hazare should contest elections.
Mr. Tewari said, “I have no comments to make on an individual's decision on whether or not to contest elections. All we want is that it should be kept in mind that no initiative should impact or undermine democracy. Democracy has been our biggest achievement in 62 years.”
He said his observation was meant for a certain section of society who had a general contempt towards democracy in all its manifestations. “While articulating the issue, it should be kept in mind that the steps taken do not impact the greatest internal strength of the country that is democracy.”
On the other hand, Mr. Hazare — in an appeal issued on Wednesday evening — asked each citizen to maintain unity in the fight against corruption. “Each one of us makes up the population of India. So each one of us matters in this struggle to make our government clean and serve our collective interests.”
He said: “Our victory so far over corruption, falsehood, injustice, and oppression is indisputable and unprecedented. But it is also clearly evident that there are handful of people who are already active in trying to create schisms in this great coming-together of all sections of our society to fight for a corruption-free future. These handful of people want to break up our collective power and create discord.
“One way for them to try to break up our collective power is to spread disinformation and rake up issues that will distract attention from the fight against corruption towards individuals and extraneous matters.
“It is important that we are able to see through their designs. We need to not only frustrate their plans but also keep our collective enthusiasm at a level that must keep rising.
“Our victory so far bears out that we have chosen the right and noble way forward for our country, but our destination is far way ahead. We cannot afford to dissipate our energies by arguing over non-issues and quarrelling with disinformation campaigns undertaken by the people who see an effective Lokpal as a grave threat to their interests.
“My indefinite fast was not aimed at getting the government or an individual to fulfil a wayward and irresponsible demand; it was meant to be a Satyagraha of the people of India to liberate ourselves from a monstrously corrupt system of governance.
“The few who have allowed themselves to be led astray by corruption and injustice will find the right path. That's our hope.”