As the middle-class goes euphoric over Anna Hazare’s fast over the Lokpal Bill, political parties are having to adjust to the phenomenon.
The hype around the fast is making the Congress wary of political damage. The opposition parties are extending vague support in the hope that any damage to the government would be their gain.
Congress leader Jayanti Natarajan stuck to the party stand that the agitation was ‘premature’, as the government was open to suggestions.
“It is engaging serious attention of the Centre...PM has appealed (to Hazare)," Union minister Anand Sharma said.
Congress ally and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah called Hazare’s campaign ‘valuable’.
For the BJP — which has been unsuccessful in building a national mood around corruption — the policy till now is to back Hazare without going into the specifics of his demands.
Asked whether it supported the demand that half of those drafting the legislation be from outside government, a leader said: “If you draft just anything, the Parliament will reject it. But what is wrong in having wider consultations, with all parties, social activists and Hazare?”
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar, however, said the party supported the demand for officials to be brought within the ambit, apart from the PM, ministers and legislators.
For INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, RLD chief Ajit Singh and former BJP leader Uma Bharti, supporting Hazare by trying to visit him was a gesture to stay relevant and be seen as “clean”. They were however shooed away by Hazare supporters who thought “politicians” be kept away.
CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat too backed Hazare’s fast, saying a comprehensive law against corruption was needed.