Can Those Who Have Discarded Mother India Change India?

Note: This piece is my translation of Pratap Simha’s oped in Kannada, which appeared in Kannada Prabha on Aug 4, 2012. The picture used here is a screen clipping from the original graphic used in Kannada Prabha. Comments and criticism welcome.

annaSigns of such a possibility appeared on Thursday itself. Prominent Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan, and Anupam Kher—who has of late emerged as an extremely staunch Anna-supporter—gave out these signs which were broadcast on various TV channels. While Prashant Bhushan reasoned that since pressure tactics haven’t worked, we have no other option except active politics, Anupam Kher justified Team Anna’s newfound political ambition thus: even leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, and Sardar Patel were activists like us before they became political leaders. News channels dished out discussion shows with pre-emptive titles like Will a Fourth Front Emerge?

And then, quick on the back of such speculations came forth the official announcement of forming a new “party.”

What goal does Arvind Kejriwal hope to accomplish after making such an announcement? Anna Hazare is certainly naive, he has genuine concern for the nation’s well-being. However, is this applicable to the members of his team? Is there any honesty in their goals? They began a mass agitation ostensibly aimed at eradicating corruption. They claimed that the intent was to wrangle out a strong Lokpal legislation using pressure tactics. However, why did they abandon this hoary goal midway and opt for donning the khadi and doing active politics?  What was the motive for this? Given this, doesn’t Subramanian Swamy’s remark that Team Anna has made a fool out of Anna make sense? Who were among the first to express extreme happiness when news broke that Team Anna wanted to go political? Switch on the TV and check out the footage that shows the triumphant smiles of Kapil Sibal, Digvijaya Singh and Ambika Soni! What is the calculation behind their statements welcoming Anna Hazare’s entry into politics?

However that maybe, who stands to gain the most if Anna Hazare forms a political party?

Till yesterday, the same Digvijaya Singh and Kapil Sibal had gone on a rampage criticizing Team Anna. They spared no opportunity to both vilify Team Anna in the vilest terms. And now, these very people have done a U-turn almost overnight. They’re suddenly sweetness personified. Indeed, Digvijay Singh has gone a step forward and suggested that Team Anna join forces with Baba Ramdev and enter the political arena. Why? Consider this: whose votes will be directly impacted by Team Anna’s new party? Anti-Congress votes, obviously. And who benefits most if anti-Congress votes are split? Sonia Gandhi, obviously. If that’s the case, which party does Team Anna hope to bring back to power in 2014? In the same breath that Team Anna talks about eradicating corruption, Team Anna also intends to indirectly, electorally help the same corrupt Congress return to power.

Realistically, the ones who talk loudest about corruption are not the rich or the poor class. It is the urban and working middle class, which is most affected by corruption. It is this class that came out in support of Anna Hazare’s agitation in overwhelming numbers. Now, which party has the middle class traditionally voted for? The middle class has always remained steadfastly anti-Congress. In the past, it used to be pro-Jana Sangh. Then it switched its loyalty to the BJP, which replaced the Jana Sangh. What this means is that if Team Anna’s new party has its sights on any votes, it’s most definitely that of anti-Congress votes.

Assuming that Team Anna’s new party manages to get even one or two percent of the vote, here’s the kind of danger it entails.

In the 1998 general elections, the Congress managed to secure 25.82% of the vote and ended up with a tally of 141 seats. However, the BJP, which secured 25.50% ended up winning a whopping 182 seats. The reason? The Congress party contested alone in all the constituencies whereas the BJP contested only in those places where it knew it was strong. It gave up the rest of the seats for its allies to contest. In 2009, the Congress adopted this same winning strategy and romped home with an impressive 206 seats. When such minute and extremely subtle calculations are involved, it is crystal clear that Team Anna’s strategy of breaking up anti-Congress votes is done with a view to help the Congress party. If that wasn’t the case, why would Sibal and Digvijaya Singh flash their exultant smiles? Such exultation especially in face of the middle class, which is waiting to teach the Congress a solid lesson at the polls because the Congress’ venomous economic policies are solely responsible for the on-going middle class misery. But the Congress leaders are exulted because they know Team Anna’s vote-split will help them. Although a little late in the day, the BJP too, has welcomed Team Anna’s upcoming political adventure, if only to show that it’s not scared. However, it is undeniable that the BJP will have at least a pinprick of anxiety.

Isn’t Team Anna aware of all these implications? Are we to believe that they’re that naive to actually believe that wielding the mike at Jantar Mantar and thundering valiantly against corruption is all it takes to instantly throw the corrupt UPA out of power? Even during a catastrophic event like the Emergency, all anti-Congress forces realized that even a sizeable number of parties couldn’t defeat the Congress beast, and that the only way out was to combine all the forces and fight as one entity. And then, even a pan-Indian movement like the Ayodhya movement fetched the BJP a paltry 89 seats. If these are the facts, if these are the historical precedents, there’s only one unmistakable conclusion that we can draw from Team Anna, which wants to eat into anti-Congress votes?

Also, who apart from Anna himself in Team Anna—which has declared that it’ll bring in change through the electoral route—has a clean record? Arvind Kejriwal? Kiran Bedi? Prashant and Shanti Bhushan? All these are educated, qualified, intelligent, and can articulate themselves well in English. However, what apart from these qualifications, are their qualities? What is their competence or the lack of it? What is their service to the society and nation? We don’t need to seek an answer for these questions because they’ve themselves demonstrated  the answer. Because they themselves accurately know their qualities and record, they piggybacked on Anna Hazare in a clever ploy to gain social acceptability. Examine each person in Team Anna on his/her own individual merit, separate from Anna—what do we get?

Are these worthies committed in their self-declared goal of fighting corruption? If they were truly committed, what was the necessity for disparaging the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi? What is the intent of Sanjay Singh who launched an unprovoked attack on Narendra Modi vilifying him as a “murderer of humanity?” Who that statement aim to please? Which party did Sanjay Singh want to mollify and why? How is a fasting-movement aimed at eradicating corruption related to the Gujarat riots that happened 10 years ago? What guarantee can Team Anna give that it won’t indulge in the politics of Muslim appeasement tomorrow?

Cut back to April 2011. Recall the dais on which Anna Hazare sat fasting. The dais was adorned with a huge picture of Bharat Mata holding the Bhagava flag. Alongside were pictures of Bhagat Singh, Subhash Bose, and Savarkar. Cut to the present fast. Bharat Mata was missing. And why was she missing? The reason is as simple as it is obvious: she was banished from the dais because Muslims objected to it. If the worthies of Team Anna can discard Bharat Mata herself because Muslims didn’t like it, we shudder to think about the levels they will descend to in future for the sake of votes. Recall how Chiranjeevi started Praja Rajyam to oppose Congress rule in Andhra Pradesh only to merge with it within two years. What is the assurance that Team Anna, which now vocally opposes the Congress, won’t be inspired by Chiranjeevi?

When Baba Ramdev sat on a protest meeting at Ram Lila Maidan, the UPA government unleashed police brutality on the gathering. However, it did nothing when Team Anna gathered at Jantar Mantar not once, but thrice! Why? Baba Ramdev’s close aide, Balakrishna now languishes in custody thanks to a non-bailable warrant issued against him. No similar “action” has been taken against any Team Anna member. Why?

Baba Ramdev is no less when compared to Anna Hazare in fighting against corruption. In fact, Baba Ramdev has relentlessly toured India for at least 10 years, instilling awareness and speaking out against these very same issues. In the initial days, Ramdev spoke out against the health problems caused by consuming carbonated drinks like Pepsi and Coke. Then he lashed out against how multinational companies are looting India. And then, he upped the ante by thundering against black money.

However, the difference between Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare is the fact that Anna has a battery of English-speaking city slickers as disciples while Ramdev and his supporters are unpolished and speak only in Hindi. These Team Anna slickers first raised a huge din insisting on a strong Lokpal followed by an equally insistent demand for electoral reforms. Why then did these slickers abandon all this and announce their intent to form a political party? This eerily reminds us of V.P. Singh, the man who first bragged that “I’m the person who first brought the Bofors scandal to light!” and rode on that wave, as a mascot of clean politics, all the way to the Prime Minister’s chair. Once he became the PM, there’s no record of him having investigated the Bofors scandal.

Dear Team Anna: millions of voters of this nation might be illiterate but they aren’t fools. A large chunk of these illiterate millions defeated Manmohan Singh in South Delhi in 1999. Shiv Khera, author of the bestselling “You Can Win” lost his deposit when he contested. Similarly, Captain Gopinath (of Air Deccan fame) lost his deposit from South Bangalore in 2009. People like Shivaram Karanth and General Thimmayya met the same fate. When Imran Khan, buoyed by Pakistan’s cricket world cup victory, formed Tehreek E Insaf, he lost in all the six constituencies his party contested at.

Dear Anna: Salman Khurshid recently said that you confided in him at a secret meeting that beginning last July, none of your team members listen to you. Your erstwhile personal blogger, Raju Parulekar has narrated how Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi have virtually imprisoned you. Amidst all this, Subramanian Swamy has asked “if Anna cannot run Team Anna, then how can he run the country?” You might be aware of the proverb which goes thus: how can someone who doesn’t even know how to tie a horse, run a chariot? This apart, you claimed that you took your inspiration from Bharat Mata herself. Now, it’s proven that you have no control over your own team members who showed no compunction to throw Bharat Mata’s picture out. Aren’t people then justified to develop suspicions about the intentions and goals of your team members, Anna?

Dear Anna: you used to be a truck driver in the army. We all read news reports of how cleaners often drive trucks and cause deadly accidents. We sincerely hope your team members don’t form a new party to help the Congress, and thereby drive the nation into an abyss. Oh, by the way, your ideal, Mahatma Gandhi gave the reins of power to Nehru and became the first person to push the country into a ditch.


23 comments for “Can Those Who Have Discarded Mother India Change India?

  1. nash
    July 29, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    One party propped up the anti corruption tamasha few months back.
    The idea was to find the mood of the eligible(young-demographic)
    electorates view on corruption and its bearing on the election.
    The inference of that in the great lab called india was ,the public
    is very disgruntled but not going to retaliate in terms of violence.
    The firing may be intentional to check the response where one person
    lost life.The experimenters are glad as everything is going fine.

    who knows …..
    we the rats are going to find new master to free us,hopefully.

  2. Adi
    August 21, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Seems like there is little encouragement if someone offers to deliver good politics. Anna and his team in the parliament (no matter how small) gives us a better chance against corruption than any other option .

  3. Arvind
    August 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    “One person wanted proof about Imran Khan drawing huge crowds…”

    Only jihadists care about Imran Khan. On this board, the only one who cares for him is you. If Imran Khan draws large crowds, it says a lot about the people of Pakistan. When some guy in Florida burnt his personal copy of the Koran (for which he had paid his money), Imran Khan used that as an excuse to get the people of Pakistan to kill random people who also lived in Pakistan.

  4. Menka
    August 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    One person wanted proof about Imran Khan drawing huge crowds and in response people indulge in personal slander. No wonder right wing fanatics are more worse than any other cult.

  5. Avinash
    August 7, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Menka auntiji, pl go to the web of The Dawn Karachi and read articles by Nadeem. All the best.

    Btw nobody has asked you to “spoon-feed” the kafirs in India. Better educate your Jihadi bros who are killing each other in the name of chunnnis, chiyas, ahmediyas, khurds, turks, mongols, pathans, hazaras, hijdas, etc etc!!!!

  6. Peter
    August 7, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    >>Looks like after her husband and children go to office and school respectively Menka aunty has plenty of time on hand…enjoy the reactions they(comments) recive!

    What if Menka is a guy, and is living his life in front of a computer because of which the aunty who is his wife is enjoying the attention of a Shiv Sena dude?

  7. Bhatta
    August 7, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Looks like after her husband and children go to office and school respectively Menka aunty has plenty of time on hand, so she writes provocative comments on Ravi’s blog and here on Sandeep’s blog and enjoy the reactions they(comments) recive!

  8. Menka
    August 7, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Another A,

    Here are few links for your reference :,curpg-2.cms

    If you need more, please google and check. I know you people need to be spoon fed.

  9. August 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    @ Menka, >>>>>Not only educated young people but even villagers there are looking towards Imran>>>> so the PhD holder “village girl” knows not only what the Hindus in India think but also know what the Pakistanis want!!

    I have been reading the web-edition of the Dawn Karachi every day for the past several years. To the best of my knowledge not many Pakistanis are considering Ex-Cricketer-PlayBoy turned Pious-Muslim-Politician as their “saviour”!!

  10. Akhil
    August 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Andolan upvas per nahi..apitu..adig astha aur vishvas per kiye jaate hai. Jis vyakti ki aastha..kisi sampraday ko tusht kerne ke liye dagmag jaye…usse desh ke hit ke liye baat kerna ka koyi adhikar nahi hai

  11. shreesha
    August 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Sandeep, I apologize you for not taking your words seriously when you had said(last year) that, TA(except Anna) are nothing but the brokers of congress and they are there just to deviate public support from Baba Ramdev.
    Its clear now that, they announced their political party so immaturely…just before Baba planned to announce it….
    Its all worked so far per the Congress roadmap…but in a big democracy like this….no one can have a strategy to hide all their sins…..
    Thanks for sharing such an important article..

  12. asha
    August 6, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Anna Hazare has disbanded team anna saying that its purpose has been fulfilled and there will not be any negotiations with the government in future…

  13. Indian
    August 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    JP movement, VP Singh movement and Anna Movement all were carried on the shoulders of RSS. And as soon as they discarded RSS, they failed. Even in emergency, it was only RSS which wholeheartedly opposed the emergency. Its more than 1 lakh swayamsewaks were put in Jail and tortured. Even during Indo-China war and Pakistan wars govt. and military depended on RSS for Civil defence. It is regrettable that people of this country in general and Hindus in particular have not realised its sacrifice. Congress as a political strategy blamed it for Gandhi’s murder and media carried and continue to carry it farward.

  14. August 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Spot on!
    ” Dear Anna: Salman Khurshid recently said that you confided in him at a secret meeting that beginning last July, none of your team members listen to you. ”
    Sad, but inevitable!
    The writing was on the wall a long time ago!

  15. Menka
    August 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Just to remind the author the blog, Imran Khan is drawing mammoth crowds in every rally at present. To form a party is easy but it takes years for it grow and one has to work on it for years. So, giving that example is not right. Imran for whatever faults stuck to it and there is high possibility he may get voted to power in the next elections there. Not only educated young people but even villagers there are looking towards Imran.

  16. Vineet
    August 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Very nice article Sandeep.

    Though I dont have blogs or articles to prove, but I had said in my office cab sometime last year that Team Anna is falling into media trap when they had suddenly started coming on channels so frequently and on every topic.

    It was bound to happen. They became captive of their images created by Media. It was such a clear game plan. Started with too many one-to-one interviews of Anna after his August fast and then calling Team Anna to studios for panel discussions on every thing under the sun.

    In fact recently Ramdev had recently said on a TV interview that since BJP, RSS backed out, hence TA were not able to mobilize crowds.

    I have all the support for their anti corruption campaign and had even gone to Tihar Jail dharna when Anna was unlawfully arrested. Somewhere the middle class anger had erupted in the way he was arrested from his house.

    Infact it will be better for BJP more than congress that in next one year, TA gets a lot of media coverage because by nature of their structure and habit they will speak in multiple voices leading to disenchantment with them sooner than later. The way they speak, they will be identified more with left rather than with right. So BJP will be happier of the two if more and more media coverage is focused on TA in next 6 mths.

    It was nice fun listening to TA’s drawing room childish comments. Shazia was easy on the eyes.

  17. Prashanth K.P.
    August 4, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    It goes beyond any speck of doubt that Team Anna, rather Anna himself, has betrayed a large chunk of devoted followers with his irrational choice of converting his hitherto noble movement into a political force, political party, political entity, whatever he may want to call it. Fact of the matter is that he has chosen to become political by political compulsion. This definitely betrays his solitary focus of fighting corruption. If he is so inconsistent in his determination to fight a cause from outside the system, he will be not just no better, but will be part of that very system which he has claimed to fight.

    As your blog pretty much highlights, Anna’s decision is suspect, his intention is suspect, his motive is suspect and his claim to fight corruption itself is suspect under the present circumstance. He and his team has, to me, intentionally stage managed a cause as a pretext to launch their political ambitions. I would not rule out them being hand in glove with the Congress simply because, Anna’s recent behind the back secret missions with Salmaan Kurshid speaks volumes of his intended treachery on the mass public he rode on to realize his ambition.

    I only hope that the Public who chose to be with him now realize Anna’s sheep in lion’s cloak attitude and dump him with the same vigor they embraced him. Yes, he has chosen to discard not just the general public but also Bharat Mata in the process, amply exhibiting his puny and nefarious plot of playing second fiddle to Congress, perhaps at their guidance, and consequently ditching a national movement. He has fooled the Nation with canards and pretensions of honesty while he has always remained a cunning fox. When I say *HE* I do imply his Team as well.

    Your title amply sums up the Movement that was called Team Anna’s fight, a fight that has become inconsequential and mired in excessive and rapacious personal desires. I earnestly hope and wish the Public that he took for a ride realize their folly and do the needful to refuse his betrayal of trust!

    Thank you Sandeep.

  18. Arun
    August 4, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Dear friend, I think this whole incident, right from the start is a farce. When Anna concept began, the situation was UPA was going steady and who will benefit if it is rocked. This doesn’t mean UPA was saint. When Anna’s first fast happened it was well organized with exquisite logistics. Who can do that?? The same people who did it for Mr.V.P.Singh. That success gave Team Anna a social recognition. And I guess that went to head and consequently they stopped taking orders from the Masters. Naturally without logistics the second fast failed. And suddenly the wet-behind-the-ear Team Anna, found hapless. So the exit route out of anger and emotion – or may be out of confidence??- took this logical conclusion. By the way, about Mr.Anna, he himself has changed his stand too many time and every time with charisma. So I guess if he turns out to politics, he will beat out all his contemporaries in rhetoric, emotion-stoking politics. Well, where does it end?? I guess, as BJP running out of PM candidates – or rather too many contestants for PM 2014 – they might choose Anna, and it is not herculean as Anna enjoys RSS support better than any other BJP leaders including Advaniji. Any how the circus has started. Let’s watch it for another one and half years.

  19. Sunil
    August 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    How can u (Or Mr. Pratap) assure that there aren’t enough anti-cong votes for team anna to get a majority? How can u say that there are more pro congress votes? If u ain’t getting that right, then this column is purely inclined towards a BJP govt. Y don’t u write something that doesn’t change people’s minds to vote for team anna? Don’t u think the media has played a huge role in popularizing team anna? Y don’t u play a major role in constructive ethics rather than destructive ethics? I know how Mr.Pratap admire Mr. Modi (I myself being his admirer). But ultimately its the nation that is important. So, no matter if Modi is the PM or not, India should have a better govt. So please don’t build negative air. If there is any good consensus to be brought in the nation, then its the media that has to be more responsible and ethical.

  20. Kaushik
    August 4, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Brilliant analysis.Supporting anna hazare movement Bjp make a huge blunder which is habit of Bjp. The ultimate gainer from this movement is congress and ultimate loser are those people who supported this movement.

  21. Dhruva Somayaji
    August 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    superb article…equally good translation
    Last para says it all…if the cleaners drive, accident is imminent!

  22. aneelkumar yadav
    August 4, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    But pratap,what about baba ramdev? will he start a new political party . or will continue support with team Anna in future.

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