Anna Hazare may be basking in the glory of the Lokpal Bill passing Parliament but here,in his own backyard,he hasnt won any supporters for what many see as the betrayal of former comrade Arvind Kejriwal. But if his churlishness at Kejriwals own momentous feat is being seen as a case of sour grapes,what has left his supporters even more disappointed is the complete turnaround the anti-corruption activist has made on former pet peeves Congress and BJP.
Contrary to the flag-waiving photos of a smiling Hazare plastered across the media,the fact is that his fast at Ralegan Siddhi this time drew a minuscule portion of the crowds that thronged his meetings during the height of the Lokpal fervour.
Of the 800-odd people who did turn up on the ninth day of the fast even two-third of the village ignored the man in their midst,in what was believed to be his hour a large portion was made up of mediapersons anxious not to miss the latest turn in an ever-changing script,and policemen wary of an embarrassment on their hands.
On the first two days that Anna began his fast,the numbers were never more than 200.
Maruti Bhapkar,a long-time Hazare associate who is now with AAP,said Hazares snub of Kejriwal was like rubbing salt into our wounds. Bhapkar made a particular mention of Hazares boast that had he campaigned for AAP,Kejriwal would have become the chief minister (of Delhi).
Anna completely forgot it was Team Kejriwal which made him a household name, said activist Manav Kamble,adding that,before that,Hazare was confined to Ralegan and Alandi,where he fasted over the years drawing no more than a handful of onlookers.
Others talk of how,in the company of Kejriwal,Hazares activism took on a more palatable from,changed from the time in 2005 when he defined a charitryasheel vyakti (person of impeccable character) as being one who avoided talking to a woman on the street.
On Wednesday,as Parliament passed the Lokpal Bill that now has many fathers,Hazare made a reference to charitryasheel vyatki again,seeking them to run watchdog bodies for Lokpal.
Hazare may have come a long way from 2005 or 2012,but the question is,how far?
Manoj is a senior assistant editor based in Pune