Posted On Monday, July 30, 2012 at 09:17:18 AM
|Anna Hazare supporters take out a rally at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday
Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday joined three of his aides in their indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar to press for his version of Lokapl and action against 13 ministers charged with corruption by his team. While Anna’s inclusion in the fast drew sizeable crowds to the venue, the Government appeared least worried. “We are not worried by protest fasts or crowds.
People know their (Team Anna's) game, that is probably why they are staying away. There is simply no scope for dialogue with Team Anna,” said Union Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanswamy. He said the Government was not getting influenced by the moderate response at Jantar Mantar or lack of enthusiastic TV coverage for the movement.
Swamy said, “Whether they draw crowds or not, it is not our concern. How can we possibly have dialogue with Team Anna that has charged ministers with corruption on the basis of draft CAG reports which have no serious value?” He said even the final CAG reports go through certain parliamentary process – like it is tabled in the Parliament, sent to the Public Accounts Committee for recommendations – before any action can be taken. The minister said Team Anna's demand to enact the Lokpal Bill forthwith also cannot be met.
“We cannot interfere with the parliamentary process. The Lokpal Bill is with the Select Committee.” On its part, Team Anna feels it is the anxious Government that is trying to crush their movement. “Or else, why should Delhi Metro, which is now the lifeline of the capital, be shut down for two of the five days that we have been on fast.
On July 25, they shut it down for the President's swearing-in ceremony and on July 28, they shut it for mock drill,” pointed out India Against Corruption (IAC) core committee member Kumar Vishwas. He also said the Government had used corporate groups to ensure restrained media coverage.
Battle for identity
At the same time, IAC sources said the throng at Jantar Mantar was missing not because there was lack of media visibility. “The urban India crowd that one saw last August is missing because the IAC is testing its own ground support. It is relying on its network from rural India adjoining Delhi.
In last few months, Team Anna has worked in Haryana and UP and crowds from there are arriving in buses,” said an IAC member. To assess its own strength, Team Anna has tried hard to ensure that crowd pullers like Yoga guru Ramdev did not make an appearance at Jantar Mantar. “Of course, the yoga guru could not be stopped.
On the third day, he came and did his tamasha and went away,” rued an IAC member.
If the protest was to test a new bench mark for its popularity, Team Anna seems to have chosen an inappropriate time. The Parliament's Monsoon Session begins on August 8, the day its permission for the sit-in protest ends.
Also, Ramdev backers feel Team Anna went ahead with its “show” only to beat the yoga guru who is beginning his dharna from August 9 at Ram Lila.