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Anna stance against Cong may harm his movement

delhi Updated: Oct 09, 2011 00:57 IST
Pankaj Vohra
Pankaj Vohra
Hindustan Times
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By appealing to voters of Hisar to vote against the Congress, Anna Hazare seems to have taken a calculated risk that could jeopardize his movement in the event of an unfavourable result from his view point.

The Hisar Lok Sabha bypoll is slated for October 13 and features essentially a triangular fight between Jai Prakash of the Congress, Ajay Chautala of the INLD and Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Haryana Janhit Congress which is backed by the BJP.

Anna's interest in a by-election in Haryana has demonstrated that his team wants to actively participate in the electoral process, which is being seen as a good sign by political observers. But by singling out the Congress, his appeal has made it abundantly clear that the Gandhian had an agenda beyond the Lok Pal Bill also. Seen in the light of the RSS Sarsangchalak, Mohan Bhagwat's admission that his outfit supports movements such as those of Anna, the political colour of the Lok Pal agitation has started becoming clear.

There is no doubt that Anna's fast in Delhi had attracted unprecedented support from a very vocal section of our civil society as its underlining theme was fight against corruption. But the final sequence of events which preceded his act of breaking his fast did throw up questions about Anna's own take on corruption. His team in an effort to end the fast had negotiated actively with former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Delhi Chief Minister's son, Sandeep Dikshit.

The shortpoint made by some of those who backed the movement was that any kind of dialogue was uncalled for which involved Deshmukh who was in the eye of a storm in the Adarash Housing Scam and Dikhshit who along with his mother is being accused by the BJP of being involved in the Commonwealth Games irregularities. How Anna would have satisfied his supporters on this is something he alone can explain.

Now in Hisar, by pitting himself directly against the Congress, the Gandhian is being accused of again backing Kuldeep Bishnoi whose late father Chaudhury Bhajan Lal faced many serious charges of corruption in his life time and Ajay Chautala whose name has recently figured in a fresh round of allegations. Anna and his team are being seen as being on same side as elements not completely above board thus putting a question mark on his tirade against corruption.

Another factor that could have contributed to Anna's active interest in Haryana politics is that his close associate Arvind Kejriwal hails from the area next to Hisar and may have persuaded him to lend active support to opposition nominees. Secondly, Anna may be convinced that the Congress was going to lose in any case and by playing a proactive role, he could pressurise the party. After Haryana, he has declared he will go to UP where the Congress is not the primary force as of now.

From the Congress standpoint, an improbable victory by its nominee could provide a setback to Anna's movement. In case of a loss, CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda may not have to explain the reasons for it to his high command.

But if Congress loses Hisar, its problems in the state will not end since two by-elections shortly afterwards to the Assembly may leave facing a tough battle in either Dabwali or Adampur (which Ajay and Kuldeep respectively represent in the Assembly) and Ratia where a vacancy caused by the death of a sitting MLA exists.