Task before Team Anna



The admission last week by Mr Arvind Kejriwal that Team Anna is confused on how to proceed with its apolitical campaign against corruption ought not to cause any surprise. This is because, in reality, the fight against corruption is a struggle against a form of social behaviour. Those who perpetrate it are doing their best to put down the anti-corruption campaign.

HIJACKING THE MOVEMENT

It follows that Team Anna's campaign is bound to run up against obstacles; there is no need at all for those behind the movement (and this includes millions of voiceless but extremely aware Indians) to be discouraged as a result . What the perceived setback means is that the campaign has to regroup the forces in support of it, and prepare for the next phase. There has been an attempt by political forces to hijack the movement for their own (mainly electoral) benefits.

An important lesson for those who have been heading the movement against corruption is that the political class (with notable exceptions) shouldn't be trusted at all, if it offers to participate in the movement. The BJP's recent moves in Uttar Pradesh represent a good example of how political parties will stop at nothing to garner votes at the hustings.

IDEALS AND PRINCIPLES

This is the result of politics in India losing its moorings in ideals and principles, and increasingly veering towards the exigencies of realpolitik, which has affected every single political group, irrespective of lineage. What this primarily means is that neither the Congress Party nor the BJP, not to speak of lesser organisations straddling the Indian political firmament, can be trusted as a dependable ally in the fight against corruption; they have been institutionally affected, and terminally, by the cancer itself which is the target of the movement.

What, therefore, is the way forward? Clearly, the campaign has to keep politicians and political parties at arms' length, which basically means that the way ahead now becomes even more difficult. To start with, the campaigners will have to do without decisive political support, which, in turn, means that there is every likelihood of the political class “uniting” to work against the campaign. In real terms, since it is Parliament which has to frame the legal backup of the campaign, “progress” there will be hard to come by.

This probably is a blessing in disguise, since it will keep away the current crop of politicians from the campaign. But it also means that the campaign will have to work to get politicians to become activists, which, after all, may not turn out to be an impossible task — even now, every political party still has people who are driven by ideals and principles.

Published on January 10, 2012

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