One can now claim this with relative ease that the fading grace of erstwhile Team Anna over the Lokpal Bill issue has in a way not faded entirely. Circumstances had triggered a split in the team not because of Anna’s inconsistencies alone but for his ex-associates who sought shortcuts as the only means as a game changer. At last they failed to make Lokpal as the most convincing tool to awaken public consciousness against corruption and took resort in politics of the day.
Team Anna’s split can never be seen as a blessing in disguise for Arvind Kejriwal and his followers regardless of the exposes hitting the headlines. Notwithstanding his claim about his moral allegiance to Anna, Kejriwal’s roadmap for the crusade still appears a bit vague except for the fact that his intents are what today in India every common man strongly feels about. Millions can vouch that it is a fight against corruption and that’s all.
So far the series of Arvind Kejriwal’s voluminous disclosures, already in public domain, have either been disputed by the Congress bandwagon or they seem heading towards a gradual diminish. For example, if issues related to either Robert Vadra or Nitin Gadkari are allowed to hit the horizon of denials and fade, his latest expose on foreign account holders is not going to make any difference to our rulers immaterial of the excited shrieking by TV channels; then no crusade matters . The political class (read non-UPA) too, which is insisting on an impartial probe and so on, hasn’t exhibited any seriousness. Arvind stirred the hornet’s nest by touching Gadkari and indirectly trying to clip the RSS tag attributed to him. All that we got to know as ‘corruption’ are just a slew of leaked extracts from either offices or websites and that is what the politicians would have us all believe.
For Kejriwal what appears to be a huge problem is that he and his team seem like minnows in a school of whales in a country which is run by people among which honest ones are minuscule. Secondly, he seems to be too much in a hurry to launder the system by donning the mantle of a public crusader without a strong political foothold or a mass support base. Thirdly, his frequent diatribes at the constitutional sovereignty made him look more like a crass political apprentice than a crusader. It appears abundantly daunting a task to pin your hopes on the media alone and frighten a system which is so hard shelled.
Had Kejriwal taken the pain and had he the patience to be with Anna for a little longer, such exposes would have had a different bearing on the public psyche. Because Anna, despite many of his inconsistencies in the past two years, had a reputation of being a man of fierce independence and integrity.
Even in the case of Anna, the Gandhian lost sight of the subtle detachment his image suffered when he had volunteered the campaign for the Hisar bypoll, which his position never demanded, to say the least. Not only the campaign lost the sheen but Anna lost many friends too. That was in fact a major turning point in Team Anna’s crusade. Then, he had one eye on his crusade and the other on a rapid electoral misadventure to teach the Congress a lesson. That was indeed a Freudian slip.
Was there a need for Anna to go to Azad Maidan in Mumbai rather than expand his support base in other parts of the country? He again went ahead with another combination of people which too frittered away.
Inconsistency has so far remained a major bottleneck for Anna Hazare. Even the Gandhian has demonstrated through many of his attacks a lack restraint in language and failed to be tactful.
Almost mid-way on his ‘journey’ to the footnotes, Anna has again woken up to put together a new combination and is trying to say what he should have done soon after the Ramlila Maidan episode - a nationwide awareness campaign against graft and not merely exposes.
To settle down on this course Anna has lost or wasted almost a year or more.
But Anna’s recent action plan cannot be seen in isolation. It is a clear shot at the other goal post manned by Kejriwal.
It may not be necessary here to judge which of the two is correct but the unspoken tension between the both has helped contribute to a public perception that neither Anna nor Kejriwal is today able to hold an unjaundiced view of the other.
The entire campaign is now in a state wherein neither Anna nor Kejriwal will be able to halt Congress’s hectoring about their double standards.