Saturday, August 4, 2012

Anna Hazare - Introduction to the murky waters of Indian politics will it succeed?

India Against Corruption campaign at White Field Bangalore
Wide spread corruption was one of the severe blow faced by Indians in their life. How many of you paid bribe or did some favour to the politicians/bureaucrats to do their work or to get something which are rightfully yours? Indians, often boasting about 5000 years of history, forced to become silent each time transparency international release their report. In the late years we often stopped looking at our ranks in the list of most corrupted countries and started comparing our position with that of neighbours.

Anna Hazare's introduction of a mass movement against corruption at New Delhi was indeed a replica of what many people want to do. The mother of all scams - 2G - scam and CAG report on it only increased the anger vibrating in the minds of common citizen and gave a boost to the movement. Well, even though the stub born insistence of Anti Corruption Movement regarding to some of the clauses raised question marks, generally the first phase went well and finally the Lokayuktha bill was passed by one house.

It is difficult to keep people focussed on one issue for long - anti corruption movement too was not different. We saw the thin population last time at the fast location in Mumbai.

The third avatar was able to attract people, but it was different from previous ones in two different ways. One - government cared little about the new fast (at least publically); secondly, the announcement to launch a political party.

Anti corruption movement raised a general awareness among people about corruption. It helped people to wake up, at least in the cities, for a mass movement. Even the politicians will fear more and think twice before taking public money for their private purposes in the future. The movement may help to raise the accountability at different levels of governance.

This also shares its own share of drawbacks. The first problem is even the straight officers will think twice or thrice before taking a decision. If the decision has any possibility of invoking any controversy even in the distant future they may think it better to postpone. Another problem is that, because of extra media activities if any one raised any accusation against an official then even before finding the truth media will kill them hundred times.

New political party - Some positive trends

The main advantage of forming a new political party - if it formed at all – at this time is the possible transform of a common man’s anger against corruption to votes. It can act as a vehicle to carry the desire of Indians for change.

Image of the movement and its leaders are clean so far. Apart from that, corruption is one of the subjects which every one faces in their day to day life. Corruption closes the door of equality and fairness in front of common man. If Team Anna can provide an answer to it people will certainly welcome them.

The movement also enjoys considerable support in the cities and among middle and upper class. So far people are coming in considerable numbers to the fast venue in New Delhi. Even its sister movements - for example the one in Bangalore - attracts considerable number of people.

So far Team Anna able to place themselves in the centre of media focuses. In fact it was the constant media attention which helped the movement to reach this far.  Media helped them by giving a free and popular platform to propagate their ideas.

Will the movement be able to influence the elections considerably?

How far Anna Hazare team will be able to move forward with their political party is yet to see. But there are some inherent problems with this decision. The primary one is about the interest of the mass. Middle class may support a movement with the intention to try something different but they may not take it to a logical end. Especially if it the movement dragged on. We already the saw the movement fizzled out last time in Mumbai. Current tendency is to blame politicians for each and everything no matter whether it is flood or draught. Will the people be able to join a political party and canvass others in the country side? As of now, I am seeing few chances.

Corruption is not the single problem our country is facing now. Moreover it is not concentrated on the top. In fact the corruption at the bottom level is worse than the one at top and affects common man directly. How many times you paid bribe to move a file from one table to another? Apart from corruption front people don’t know anything about the policy of Team Anna in other areas like agriculture, foreign policy, economics etc. As far as they are restraining themselves to corruption it is fine. However once they cross the boundary and enter politics, people will demand answer for everything.

Apart from this Team Anna lacks an organisational framework in the vast country side. Apart from the media sensitive cities including national capital, people may not be much informed/ confident about the movement. Even after years of organisational framework main stream parties are failing to connect with people. The largest contingents of MPs are not coming from Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata or Bangalore, but from villages, small towns and cities where votes are often decided by caste/religious equation. Yes, in those elections where the middle class seldom shows any interest to vote.

Apart from Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal or Prashant Bhooshan duo people have little idea about other faces of the movement. It is yet to have regional faces with which common people can connect very fast.


As of now I don’t think the movement as a political party will be a successful enterprise. The next election is almost two years away. It is difficult to carry - if central government didn’t do anything so foolish - this momentum so far. In case they failed to make any ripples in the 2014 general elections, it will be more difficult for them to do anything later. Media which often focus on sensational topics may not render the same service they did in the earlier days. Whether anti corruption movement succeed in election front or not, it will be remembered for its positive impact on nation's anticorruption front. A movement which forced the executive to correct some of its miss-steps.


Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

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