Anna Hazare's obvious
Activist Anna Hazare is losing his Gandhian shine with every action he takes to tone up his social configuration. Whenever he flops as a missionary, he gleefully refers to his 12-day exhibitionist sweep at Ramlila Maidan which brought millions rising in angst against the festering sore of corruption and moral turpitude in the highest places of governance and within the corporate world. Anna is visibly split into two parts; one that is suave, sacrificing and ameliorative and, the other that is egoistic, dominating and illogically assertive.
When Anna found himself waiting in the dried alleys of political inactivity, far removed from any noticeable social engagement, he chose to go over to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, emboldened possibly by the calls of two consecutive opinion polls that posted Mamata exclusively routing for a decisive role at the Centre post-poll. He sang paeans in her praise, playing a prospective queen-maker. He skipped all his known reservations while describing the merits of the mercurial Bengal leader, whose traditional hook-ups become too abrasive, biting and burdensome for any entity, should that ever decide to desert her.
Just a few days into this fascinating bonhomie, Anna learnt to his dismay that Mamata had no clout beyond her state. Mamata had called a rally on March 12 at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Anna's historic fast some two years ago, where thousands had spiritedly gathered to raise their voice against the malaise of corruption and clamoured for Jan Lokpal law. Mamata had planned the rally to flaunt her "kinship" with the social activist and garner a good chunk of votes, to leave the message of her growing popularity outside West Bengal. But when they both realized the rally was a hollow sham, none caring to attend, both back-tracked in shock.
Anna chose not only to skip the rally, but also to withdraw support to her Trinamool Congress. Though he cited "poor health" for his absence at the rally, he made it otherwise clear that he had been misled about the turnout. Anna's stance left the TMC leaders red-faced with Mamata disowning the rally as one organized by Anna Hazare where she was just an ‘invitee’. Anna turned the tables on Mamata, saying he had been deceived by the party. This CM politician may indulge in falsehood but Anna, carrying a reformist zeal on his head, must come clean on his statement. Both Anna and Mamata have asked TMC men to remove all posters showing the two together. TV ads with Anna asking people to vote for TMC have also gone off air. Party rally with Anna in Gujarat on March 20 has also been called off. So the honeymoon, amazingly short-lived, is now over.
Someone may ask: "Is it a reflection on Anna Hazare's credibility and his popularity? Is he only a win-win man? Does he live to bask in glory and hates people and places that are found deserted? Does he look for high-decibel publicity and great social honour? One may or may not answer in the affirmative, but the fact remains that he loves popularity and wants to stay a king-maker. But does he really know how leaders are created? Or, what manner of pain one has to take to play a reformist, ameliorative factor? If he liked Mamata on merit, why should he now shun her finding in trouble ? Or, if he played patron to the "revolutionaries" of a popular movement, why should he have left them in lurch, with results yet to flow in?
Anna created an Arvind Kejriwal as a tough, leading missionary against graft, leaving behind scores of others equally forceful reformist front-runners in the shades. While projecting Kejriwal, Anna failed to assume a patriarchal role for himself, whereby he could guide his "protege" to the minutes of every horrendous responsibility that the latter had to discharge in pursuing this lofty mission. Anna clearly failed to take a leaf from the life and mission of M K Gandhi who returned to a subjugated India in 1917 and soon took command of the freedom movement, almost at a time when the very talk of freedom appeared to be a mere dream, with the enemy getting progressively cruel and the libration aspirants hopelessly trying to give strength and momentum to the wide spectrum of their chosen goal.
Kejriwal tried to reason with Anna Hazare that an evil like corruption could not be effectively fought without attaining power through the electoral system, as the political and executive classes had together developed a sordid nexus to hijack the system. He had emphasized that his idea did not grow out of any wild, crazy ambition, but out of the need to become effective by gaining authority and simultaneously remaining trustworthy and truthful to the people. Characteristically considering all that non-essential, Anna reacted sharply to Kejriwal's suggestion of activists forming a political party and going into elections. An anguished Kejriwal parted ways, formed his Aam Aadmi Party and, in course of time built an enviable clout, played a big game and almost won a difficult election in a debut show, which surprised even the most gullible of the thinking lot and opinion-builders.
Kejriwal rose to become Delhi's Chief Minister, but could not hold on to his oars due to his restlessness and an impulsive gene. In his bid to overly impress the people through overdrives, he become too much of an "aam aadmi" and lost the track of his governance and administration. Partly due to his severe frustration caused by the gimmicks of a wily, hated Congress supporter and partly driven by his internal push to realize the national ambition, Kejriwal chose to quit as CM, proving his naivety and poverty of judgment. And the period between his resignation and now is marked by his deeds and actions that have the masses brooding over what this man is like and what he is up to.
Wherever Kejriwal goes, he creates flutters, gets embroiled in controversies and clearly leaves an impression of a maverick being on the prowl. In the latest, he turns on the media saying, "He will jail them all, if he comes to power." Why ? Because, he says, "they are promoting BJP leader Narendra Modi for monetary considerations." This may mean end to his party's long-drawn honeymoon with the media. But Kejriwal is not worried.
Anna is waning fast, so is his "powerful" one-time protege Kejriwal. Is it because Anna's faultlines are indispensably unseemly? Does he really fit in a reformist's or in a nationalist's role? Kejriwal would not have been what he is today, if Anna had handled him well. The AAP leader is wayward, confused, and at times anarchist too, because his ‘guru’ failed to put him in the right groove. Anna is a failure as a patron-figure. He may think well, but loses his equanimity and steady move as he embarks on a key people-friendly journey. In sum, Anna is a spent force!