A rift for the better

Anna Hazare and his former team-mates going their separate ways brings clarity

Written by The Indian Express | Published: September 18, 2012 2:07 am

Anna Hazare and his former team-mates going their separate ways brings clarity

Anna Hazare,advised by 30-40 social activists,will continue his campaign against corruption,even as Arvind Kejriwal and his comrades concentrate on political action through their party platform. In other words,the different strands in last year’s agitation,that coiled and twined together confusingly,have now separated. Hazare’s initiative,run out of Ralegan Siddhi,will steer away from all parties,and focus on making sure “good people” enter Parliament. This is clearly distinct from the mission of Kejriwal,Manish Sisodia and others who have chosen to press their agenda through a formal entry into politics.

This parting of ways brings a welcome clarity and structure to their respective work. When the erstwhile Team Anna spoke in many voices,many wondered whether the agitation concealed other motives — whether,for all their talk about an apolitical people’s movement and Hazare’s Gandhian halo,their choices revealed a preference for certain outcomes over others,as when they explicitly campaigned against the Congress in Hisar. It was a mystifying mix of civil society activism and political ambition. Team Anna was a fuzzy formation created only to push their own version of the Lokpal legislation by mounting an assault on existing parliamentary structures.

Now,one set of people has chosen to try its luck in the electoral contest,test the extent to which its beliefs resonate with voters. That’s just the right way to be the change they want to see,because it is only by submitting to representative democracy that they will learn the true weight of their ideas,and how best to propel them forward. Meanwhile,Hazare has also moved towards clarity,by splitting off his agenda from the party,forming a caucus of activists who will critique the system but make no attempt to parachute into politics. For former members of Team Anna and for those assessing them,this delineation of interests is a good thing.

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