Friday, July 27, 2012

Drop in Wind Forces Team Anna to Change Tack

About a week ago, I reported on what people within Team Anna were thinking about the direction of their movement. Short version: They couldn't seem to agree.

Among the things I did not write was the division within IAC on entering politics. In April, Arvind Kejriwal travelled to Himachal Pradesh. There, he met volunteers to discuss the possibility of propping up candidates in the upcoming assembly elections.

This trip was not sanctioned by the core committee. Indeed, when some heard of it, they were furious. Here is what one core committee member told me about the fallout of Kejriwal's trip. The comment appears in full, without edits. 
"Anna's movement was a spontaneous, unique movement in India's political movement. Elections though is a different ball game. If you're doing so, no harm in doing it. But you must do this carefully and provide a serious, well-thought out alternative to the current political parties. Whether the HP tryst was right, I'm glad they've forgotten about it. I don't think the group was happy about this at all. This was a bad thought and I'm glad that finally the group was sensible enough to abandon this thought. We simply don't have the logistics in place to do it. 
Perhaps we can join Baba Ramdev who has some ground-level support and make 1+1 into 11. (Me: this line is important) I don't guarantee we'll win but we stand a better chance if stand together." 

Folks within the movement say Kejriwal, who is currently fasting with his associates Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia, is against joining hands with Baba Ramdev. (They also claim he began the fast on 25 July to distract from Baba Ramdev's own fast planned on 9 August. But that's another matter).

Earlier Today, Anna Hazare announced that IAC would in fact fight the 2014 general elections by propping up honest candidates. His announcement came on the same day that Baba Ramdev is expected to arrive at Jantar Mantar to lend IAC support.

Last April, I vividly recall the moment Baba Ramdev joined Anna during his first fast at Jantar Mantar. There was a sudden rush of excitement through the crowd. Then there were loud chants. And cheers. I remember thinking: "It's like a medieval knight has galloped in to save the city from a siege".

I can see only one reason for Kejriwal suddenly coming around to having Baba Ramdev back on stage. He's seen the signs. And the signs aren't good. If Team Anna is serious about propping candidates in 2014, they need someone who can put boots on the ground to campaign. Baba Ramdev has the mass support they need quite desperately.

I took this photo of just the MEDIA presence at Jantar Mantar on Day 1 of Kejriwal and his associates' fast. (This photo doesn't account for the innumerable print journalists and jib cam operators who were also around).


Compare that to what the CROWD looks like on the morning of Day 3. 

The same Core Committee member I mentioned earlier had this to say about the frequent protests and fasts IAC was organising. Again, I'm quoting the person in full without edits.
"Where we are going wrong, I think is we are in a hurry. And whenever you're in a hurry, you end up making mistakes. Some people in this core within the core don't have ideas of a people's movement. They want frequent dharnas and this sometimes tries people's patience. This is what we saw in Bombay."

The writing is on the wall. The people are tired. Team Anna needs a booster shot. For better or worse - voters will decide this in 2014 - they've now got Baba Ramdev on board.

2 comments:

  1. really boring language and sad content, i think u shld quit writing and bttr join sme bpo coz ur blog reflects ur low IQ which can really help u blossom there :)

    U really knw lot of ppl in Team Anna i see, the sadness of ur life is no body knows u or ur blog, and shortly u wont even have ur adsense account - try to earn sme $$ here haan, let me spoil ur party :)

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  2. Annaji we are with you... but I don't think corrupt, thick-skinned politicians are going to be affected by your fast.. They have remained unperturbed by the fact that thousands are dying because of hunger in our country .. It would be more fruitful if you campaign against corruption and draw more support for honest people to enter into politics..

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