Team Anna on Tuesday was rather modest about their role in influencing the election results on corruption and the manner in which the Lokpal Bill issue was handled by the Congress at the Centre. But for Manipur, Team Anna campaigned in every State that went to the polls. They stayed put in Uttar Pradesh for a month.
“We did not target any party, but if the government had passed the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, the results of these Assembly elections would have been different for the Congress,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said.
“People saw how the government repressed Baba Ramdev's movement against corruption and how it repeatedly cheated people on Anna Hazare's movement and the Jan Lokpal Bill. There was an undercurrent against the Congress at the Centre,” he maintained.
Members of Team Anna relentlessly toured Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand, mostly holding rallies, to create awareness about their anti-corruption campaign and how Mr. Hazare was treated by the Union government. The team's campaign seems to have helped non-Congress parties.
In fact, the BJP would have been the biggest gainer of Anna movement had party president Nitin Gadkari not admitted “tainted” former BSP Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party fold just on the eve of the Uttar Pradesh elections. Senior BJP leaders Kalraj Mishra, Kesri Nath Tripathi, Satyadev Singh and Yogi Adityanath had openly opposed the move. But Mr. Gadkari stuck to this decision with an eye on influencing the Kushwaha votes in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The fact that even BSP supremo Mayawati was ejecting tainted ministers from her government was not a hint enough.
In such a scenario, young Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, who did no wrong in these elections, played to the gallery by shutting the door on strongman D.P. Yadav. As State president of the party, he divested senior party leader Mohan Singh of his position as party spokesman for supporting Mr. D.P. Yadav.
Corruption, therefore, was an issue in the manner in which political parties handled it. The SP shunned tainted candidates and created a positive impression.
On why Uttarakhand, where Major B. K. Khanduri had brought in a strong Lokayukta Bill, did not give a clear mandate to the BJP, Team Anna members said: “It was because Khanduri brought the Bill, the party did so well. Otherwise looking to the fact that his predecessor Mr. Pokhriyal was removed on corruption charges, the party would have just won three to four seats. The Bill is the only factor that the party has gained quite a lot in the State.”
On her micro-blogging site, another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said, “Congress appeared to be suffering today because it is blatantly against an effective Lokpal Bill. And still is!”