Enough of fasting; Anna Hazare and his team appear all set to try another route to achieve their avowed goal.
It did not come as surprise to his critics, when the social activist on Thursday proposed the idea of a "political alternative".
"It is another two years to go to polls in 2014. We have to go to people throughout the country in the next one-and-half years. Why waste time on fasts?" Anna said, creating a buzz around the country with the multi-party system.
Although the Gandhian did say that he would stay out of it, some of his supporters present at the fast venue, Jantar Mantar, looked not so happy with the idea. They walked away from the site, wondering whether they were part of a revolution or were campaigning for the formation of a new political party.
Though Team Anna is not saying it in as many words, their electoral ambitions are now clear - a new party in 2014 general elections.
Members of the team say they were left with no other option after the government made it clear that it is not interested in giving into their demands. One team member, Manish Sisodia, was even heard giving example of Irom Sharmila Chanu, who has been on hunger strike since 2000 to demand that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA). She is being force fed for years now.
"We realised that the government was not listening to us. Look what has happened to Irom Sharmila…The government has many ways of ignoring people`s opinions,” Sisodia added.
When Anna Hazare phenomenon dawned in New Delhi last year, his charisma was so overpowering. He was not just the darling of Indian media, but hailed as modern-day Gandhi by the international media too. The khadi-clad man with a Gandhi cap caused jitters in political circles. But this time, the show was lackluster, to say the least. There is a fatigue with the tactics adopted by the movement to accomplish its aim of an India sans corruption. Lack of forward movement coupled with no clarity in goal further crippled the movement; denting Team Anna’s image.
The big question that now emerges is: Will Team Anna be now seen as anti-BJP as it is anti-Congress? Remember how Team Anna actively campaigned against the Congress in Hisar by-election and Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.
Also, the team will have to clarify if it will join hands with political parties that do not belong to the Congress or BJP-led alliances.
Contesting elections is very different from holding fasts. Congress leader Ambika Soni rightly said that Team Anna’s move to form a political alternative would make them realise the responsibilities and compulsions of being in politics.
“Particularly working with honesty is not easy," Soni commented.
It is ironic that Team Anna will soon be a part of the system which they have been denouncing for long. The task is gargantuan, and Anna understands it well.
Do you believe in Anna and his movement? More importantly, will you vote for Team Anna in 2014?
First Published: 8/3/2012 4:40:37 PM