Anna and AP

M. Somasekhar | Updated on March 09, 2018

The fight against corruption has thrown up some interesting facets of India, the land of diversity. While Anna Hazare has forced the political class to run for shelter in the national capital, the scene is a bit different in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Here, 26 MLAs have openly quit to support a political leader, who is under the CBI lens, facing myriad charges of financial corruption.

Is corruption relative? Is it different in different places? Is there more acceptance of political corruption in some regions? Several interesting questions arise to extend the fight against this malaise that is threatening to destroy our democratic institutions.

Movement gathering momentum

Anna Hazare, the ex-serviceman, donning the Gandhi topi and adopting the Mahatma's potent weapon against the British — fasting — has captured the imagination of Indian youth, especially in the national capital, by steadfastly highlighting corruption.

In the national capital, while the pre-dominantly urban, middle-class, youth and people of all ages and from neighbouring states too demonstrate their solidarity with Anna, MPs, Minister's and the UPA Government, after initial bungling by his arrest, followed by a ‘comatose' phase, are finally showing some signs of flexibility on reaching a consensus.

Interestingly, while most fights against corruption — be it the Bofors case or the earlier mass movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan — found echo largely in the poor and disadvantaged sections of rural India, who used their vote to throw out regime's, Anna Hazare's campaign has attracted urban people and is definitely showing ominous signs of heading into the rural hinterlands.

People's representatives (MPs and MLAs), both in Parliament and State Assemblies, who are in a way the central target of this mass campaign, exhibit reactions ranging from knee-jerk criticism to the methodology of Anna, to arrogance that laws are made only in Parliament and not in public places by a handful of people.

INDIA's two faces

The Andhra case is quite curious. Even as the ruling Cong(I) dispensation, led by Mr Kiran Reddy, confronts the growing agitation for a separate Telangana State, resignation of nearly 100 MLAs, and efforts by Mr Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy (son of former Chief Minister , Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy) to whip up support to topple the Government, the CBI, on the directive of the High Court, has unearthed a slew of charges against the Kadapa MP and more than two dozen corporates associated with him. The graft charges have led to a bizarre situation. Twenty six MLAs of the ruling party quit in support of Mr Jagan and, in a way, endorsed corruption (if Mr Jagan is proved guilty), to threaten the Government.

Another interesting feature is that Mr Jagan continues to attract large crowds in both Rayalseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh and few places in Telangana, where he is touring on a Odarpu yatra (consoling families which lost a member, immediately after the death of Y. S.R in an helicopter crash in September, 2009), even while facing charges of corruption. The question on everyone's mind is, will Mr Jagan pull off a coup in the ruling party or will the graft charges be proved and lead to his political marginalisation. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly clear that India lives in two entities — India and Bharat — and it is indeed a land of diversity. Will it shows unity in the fight against corruption?

Published on August 25, 2011

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