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3478Why Anna Hazare continues to oppose Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party

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  • Sandeep Heble
    Dec 20, 2013
      Why Anna Hazare continues to oppose Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party

      In Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone memorably warns his youngest son and heir Michael to watch out for his cap or egime or lieutenant who would come up with an offer to set up a meeting for conciliation with his powerful rivals. That man will be the traitor, the Don tells Michael. In contemporary Indian politics, unlike in Puzo's mafia thriller, it did not require a Don Corleone to figure out, for example, who would end up switching sides to support the government over the Lokpal Bill and why. Anna Hazare's persistent opposition of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, however, needs a closer examination.

      Hazare has repeatedly said that he is opposed to all political parties. Political parties do not have a place in the Indian Constitution, the 76-year-old activist has argued and said that he would have happily offered his support if Kejriwal had contested as an independent candidate. In other words, Hazare is prepared to support good candidates so long as they don't formally join hands to work for common goals. Hazare has not cared to explain, though, just how these candidates will get to work together as a force for good. In his scramble to corner some of the credit for the legislation, he even seemed oblivious of the irony that the government suddenly seemed in a rush to pass its Lokpal Bill only after Aam Aadmi Party's spectacular debut in Delhi assembly polls.

      It is manifestly clear that the government would not have discovered national interest in the Lokpal Bill if Kejriwal had contested as an independent candidate and remained a solitary voice in Delhi assembly. After the Hazare-led agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill in April, 2011, ended up uniting political parties across the spectrum against the proposed anti-corruption legislation, Kejriwal rose to their challenge and decided to metamorphose the movement into Aam Aadmi Party. Hazare and his associates, however, parted ways with Kejriwal over this decision. It is pertinent to remember that Kejriwal was the brains behind the Jan Lokpal Bill agitation and Hazare just its figurehead.

      Had Kejriwal given in to Hazare's pressure and refrained from forming the party or fielding candidates in the Delhi elections, the result would probably have been a comfortably win for the BJP. Hazare's repeated attempts to dissuade Kejriwal must be seen in this perspective, especially since his associate, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, has left little doubt over her political leanings. Smoothing the BJP's path in the elections would have been a travesty of the agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill that sparked off nationwide outrage against the all-pervasive rot in the system, just as Hazare's assent to the government's bill is.