Anna…to the Rescue?!
I was in Chennai last week when Anna Hazare was dominating the news everywhere. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people supporting this frail looking man who not only emerged as the symbol in the country’s fight against corruption but has also become the rallying point for a disillusioned middle class. There is no doubt that the electronic media made him a mega star overnight but Anna Hazare has earned his fame through his perseverance and hard work. He is a unique combination of a Gandhian who also at the same time draws inspiration from national heroes like Chattrrapati Shivaji and Guru Gobind Singh.
Anna’s rise and rise on the national scene can be attributed largely to three factors. The Central government and several state governments have been involved in massive corruption scams and no one seems to be bothered about bringing to book the guilty persons. Yes it is true that the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was asked to give up his position in the wake of the Adarash Housing Scam but nothing has moved thereafter. The Commonwealth Game scam is much bigger than the Adarash scam but barring Suresh Kalmadi, who has become the face of the scandal, no action has been initiated against functionaries of the Delhi government and those at the helm of affairs of the Urban Development, Sports and Tourism ministries at that time. The three ministers of the central government now hold different portfolios because that was the only way of getting them off the spotlight. The Shunglu committee report has been forwarded to the Home Ministry for action but not before many sections including some of the people on whom the needle of suspicion pointed tried to ridicule its findings. One failed to understand how for instance the findings of a committee appointed by the Prime Minister be rejected say by the Delhi government. It shows that the Congress government in Delhi has little or no regard for the Prime Minister as otherwise its functionaries would have allowed Manmohan Singh to have a say on the matter before trying to prejudice public opinion against the report filed by V.K.Shunglu, a retired CAG of unimpeachable integrity. Now the CAG report is also expected very shortly and it is to be seen if those heading the government departments named in this report will be asked to go as A Raja was shown the door after his ministry’s name figured in the CAG report. There cannot be two standards, one for Raja and the other for others. The Congress and its government must see sense and order action if the findings seem to be on the correct lines.
The second reason for Anna making waves was that the country is fed up with corruption and ever spiraling prices. There seems to be no one who is giving a plausible explanation of what is the reality. There are always efforts through the media and otherwise to suppress the truth. The Prime Minister and the other functionaries look the other way when wrong doings are happening openly. It was the pent up feeling of the people that found an expression in their support to this most unlikely and unassuming hero.
Finally, the middle classes had thrown their weight behind Manmohan Singh during the last Parliamentary polls. He was their hero, a man who was one of them but had risen to the highest office of the land. The support to Anna Hazare was in a way also a way the middle classes expressed their disillusionment with their real hero—Manmohan Singh. It is therefore for the Prime Minister to redeem his image by pro-active action if he has to get the people on his side once again. Interestingly, the Gandhian leader has occupied the space the BJP was hoping to recapture in the light of their continuous tirade against Manmohan Singh. Unfortunately for the Saffron party, it has not gained by the Anna movement but has lost its opportunity. It is therefore not a surprise that L.K.Advani in his blog has tried to have a dig at the new Hero of India.
So far as Anna Hazare is concerned, he has a very heavy burden on his shoulders. He has to be wary of unscrupulous and opportunistic elements and keep people with dubious reputation away from his movement. He has to honour his commitment and not fall prey to media adulation. If he is able to sustain his campaign against corruption, the country will always remember him amongst the icons of this Nation. No one can deny that the fight against corruption should continue and regardless of political affinity, honest and people of integrity should come forward.