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Arvind Kejriwal’s coal protest & Anna

By Neha Attre | Last Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 - 19:15
Neha Attre

Key member of erstwhile Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal, is back in action. This time around, he and the members of India Against Corruption started out by trying to corner the government over alleged irregularities in coal blocks allocations and are now alleging that police is harassing IAC supporters.

To my mind, the nation has been witnessing these events with limited interest. Some observers have termed this apparent lack of interest as a sure signal that anti-corruption movement has waned out but in reality that may not be the case.

The majority of Indians are silent but they have their ears to the ground and for sure, they are fed up with the string of corruption scandals that have come to the fore in the recent years.

But the buzz was missing this time around. Although it would be not fair on Kejriwal and company to expect that thousands of people would pour on to the streets every time they hold a mike, one presence was surely missing from the scene - Anna Hazare.

When quizzed about the Kejriwal’s protest in Delhi on Monday, Anna categorically replied that he had no knowledge about any such protest happening anywhere. Hazare also declared that the anti-corruption movement will begin once again in two months time. However, he remained mum on the team that will be a part of the movement now.

Just as eyebrows were being raised and assumptions started floating about the possible rift between Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, Anna was quick to add that there are no differences between him and Kejriwal.

After Hazare’s remarks, former IPS officer and previous Team Anna member Kiran Bedi distanced herself from Kejriwal’s protest. Bedi said that that she will not be a part of the protest even though she is with the cause.

Bedi cleared her stand by stating that the need of the hour is to get the ‘more corrupt’ out, work with the ‘less corrupt’ and then think of a third force, which could be Arvind Kejriwal's ''anti-corruption movement''.

While Bedi’s wants a distinction be drawn between the more corrupt and the less corrupt, Kejriwal wants to see everybody from the same prism. In effect, it seems Bedi wants the movement to focus only on Congress even as Kejriwal appears resolute to paint everybody with the same brush. Interesting!

Also, Anna’s announcement to be back in action in two months holds significance in the developing scenario.

Kejriwal may have tried to march to 7 Race Course Road and 10 Janpath but the fact remains that people still associate anti-corruption movement with Anna Hazare.

‘I am Anna’ seems to still hold relevance.

Kejriwal along with Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai had sat on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar, they would agree that the movement gained traction after Anna joined in. His mere presence was enough to pull in the crowd which was otherwise missing from the agitation.

The movement ended with the promise that the movement will provide a “political alternative”, the contours of which are still hazy.

The movement is still alive, what is needed is that it stays focused. Anti-graft awakening in the country is to the credit of no single person or entity. Anna worked, so did Team Anna.

A lonely walk at this juncture may appear exciting to Kejriwal but, may be, he should take others along.

First Published: Monday, September 3, 2012 - 19:15

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