“Team Anna confused, does not know the way forward” screamed the headlines of Times of India dt. 6th Jan. This was after the Mumbai fast derailed ( pun intended ) and the politicians had the last laugh when after 3 days of some debate and more drama in the Parliament, the Lokpal ball was thrown back to the drawing table ( that’s what we hope !! )
Coming at the end of an eventful year for the civil society, this turn of events was unfortunate to put it mildly. For most part of the year passed by, the civil society under the aegis of Team Anna was setting the agenda for the politicians. There is not an iota of doubt that but for the pressure mounted by this movement, the government would not have made the MPs enjoy the Delhi chill longer to bring and discuss the bill to the parliament. So when the going was so good, what went wrong ? Gigabytes of analysis theories have already pervaded the cyberspace on this and hence I’m not going to clog that space further. Key member of Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal in a signed article admitted candidly that the anti-corruption movement is at the crossroads today and asked where to go from here. He also requested people to suggest the way ahead thro e-mail to email@example.com. The genesis of this blog came from this candid admission and request.
Crossroads ??? One failed fast and another fast one pulled by the politicians – have they dented the civil society’s confidence ? My submission is that the Anti – Corruption movement needs to be launched as a ” New Improved” product in FMCG parlance or a Version 2.0 in IT lingo. My humble suggestions for Team Anna are as under :
- The Lokpal bill is only means to the end and not the end by itself. So what if the parliament passes a “Jokepal bill” or a toothless bill. The agitation must continue which will expose the political class than ever before.
- You have asked if Anna should fast again. The Answer is Yes and No ! Yes – as it is a legitimate non violent method of protest which can galvanise people and at the same time send the right signals across but must be used as a tactical tool. No – as Anna’s fasts have become repetitive and hence the shock value follows a graph of diminishing returns. Coming back to the question, Yes Anna must use the weapon of fasting but in proper measure and not fasting at the drop of the
- How to agitate and keep up the pressure ? Campaigning against “A” party ??? You must not forget that the main reason for Anna to succeed in hitting it off with the public at large was because he was apolitical. So in the new avatar it is important to stay completely apolitical and not repeat Hissareous mistakes. It’s common knowledge that as far as corruption is concerned “Hammam mein sab Nange hain” So taking side of 1 political party means playing partisan politics and losing credibility.
- The best way to put pressure on the politicians is to hurt them electorally. From now on for any election ( Municipal/State/Central ) the moment political parties announce their candidates, IAC ( Indiaagainstcorruption) must do a thorough background check on all the candidates, their source of wealth,.. and present to the public feeds through the media on a daily basis and set corruption as one of the most important talk points in the elections. ( Remember last year’s Tamil Nadu elections )
- You have so far done a great job in capturing the imagination of the public. One failed fast should not satiate the hunger for spirited fights in the future. It’s certainly not right to conclude that just because people didn’t turn up, they are not concerned about corruption. The same agitation if it was post the parliament fiasco would have perhaps yielded a different result. So if you are going for a fast again, getting the timing right is important.
- When not in an agitation, or not in the midst of elections, your best bet in getting your views across strongly is the Media ( TV & Print ) and the internet. It’s important to understand where Key opinion leaders ( read as TV anchors/editors ) stand on the Anti Corruption Movement and get them to your side. If some of the key opinion leaders are with you, your views become their views and gets adequate air time/space. Viralling the internet then becomes more simple. ( May be rope in Dhanush or his father in Law in to the team and watch the “Kolaviral” effect ! )
- Rome was not built-in a day and a crucial bill that too with so much implications on the revenue model for the politicians will not be passed in a day. The time available now is crucial to build public opinion against the ills of the proposed bill through the media and internet.
- Aiming for a perfect law 1st up is being idealistic. Show maturity and pat the back of the politicians when they pass the bill even if it is not the perfect Anti corruption remedy. There is always an opportunity to see how the remedy works and change the formulation in the future. Garnering public opinion in that situation will be easier and if it is a different government in power that time, it presents a good enough reason for them to bring in amendments to the bill. ( though all parties are partners in crime on passing this bill )
- In the last year, sometimes one found that Team Anna was desperately trying to outsmart the politicians and trying to beat them in their own game. Well, again the Anna factor owes its success to his sincerity of purpose. Losing a battle is not so much a concern as long as the war is not lost. So political brinkmanship be best avoided. Play with a straight bat, play with sincerity. Public will be with you.
Wishing all the best for a bug free Ver 2.0 !