At a time when politicians have come under severe attack from supporters of social activist Anna Hazare as “corrupt”, senior BJP leader LK Advani labelled blanket attacks on the political class as “a gross disservice to democracy”.
Hazare was quick in reacting: “If politicians like him (Advani) were on the right path, we wouldn’t have to launch a movement like this.”
Advani had said hours earlier on his blog: “I am of the view that those who revel in spreading a general climate of disdain about politics and politicians are doing a gross disservice to democracy. Despite the shortcomings of Indian democracy, we still have conscientious and upright politicians in the country and it is they who still give people optimism and confidence for the future.”
He cited examples of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Jaya Prakash Narain, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nanaji Deshmukh — three Jana Sangh/BJP names and one, JP, a socialist whom the BJP loves to claim.
However, Advani did interpret Hazare’s public apology to Uma Bharti for his supporters turning her away as an “index of Anna’s innate decency”. Bharti was booed away from Jantar Mantar by supporters of Anna Hazare during his fast there last week to demand a strong anti-corruption bill. Hazare later apologised to Uma.
He showered praise on Hazare for having spearheaded the campaign against corruption.
He commended Hazare on achieving a joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill, his key demand, in just four days, recalling that the entire opposition had taken four months to get the government agree on a JPC, and that too after stalling Parliament. But he claimed that it was the Opposition’s protest in Parliament that had triggered the “Jan Andolan”.Advani further said behind all this lay the UPA’s "singular reputation of being the most corrupt government independent India has seen".