Two years ago, India Against Corruption (IAC) became a household name across India when anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare led a public agitation demanding a Janlokpal bill.
But after both Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal split from the anti-corruption group, the IAC seems to have abandoned the Lokpal or Janlokpal bill issue.
After the split, there were several claimants for the campaign. While Kejriwal and others went on to form the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Hazare, Kiran Bedi, another prominent IAC leader and few others, distanced themselves from politics.
Later, Bedi broke away from Hazare, who formed the Jantantra Morcha.
The group, which now runs — and claims to own — the IAC, mostly comprises Right to Information (RTI) activists. The group had taken over the IAC immediately after the split but held its first formal meeting on Monday. Its national convenor Sarbajit Roy said: “We do not support Janlokpal or the Lokpal. You cannot have a comprehensive Lokpal dealing with petty local corruption as well as systemic mega corruption deals such as 2G or defence deals.”
In its new avatar, the IAC decided that the RTI was virtually dead and that “there is a need to defend RTI in India”.
Asked if this was not a betrayal of trust for the thousands of Indians who hit the streets demanding a Janlokpal in support of team Anna through 2011 and half of 2012, he said: “The common man is still free to join AAP, which is demanding Anna’s Janlokpal.” Manish Sisodia, a prominent member of the undivided IAC and now the national executive member of AAP, said: “People of India are not bothered about brands. It does not matter to India if it is IAC or AAP or anything else. All they want is Anna Hazare’s Janlokpal bill.”
He expressed ignorance about the team that is running the IAC currently.Efforts to reach Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi through phone and e-mails went in vain.