Even as former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who is also a prominent member of the organisation India Against Corruption (IAC), came up with the idea of an anti-corruption helpline—on the lines of 101 to make it easy for people to understand—while explaining the Lokpal Bill that the organisation is demanding, her comments equating Anna Hazare, the lead crusader, with India seemed to have ruffled a few feathers.
Speaking after Hazare arrived at the venue, Bedi said, “English channels are saying ‘India is Anna’. I am also saying, India is Anna, Anna is India”. She ended her speech with ‘Jai Hind’.
Political analysts immediately recalled a similar comment by the then Congress president Dev Kant Barooah who had uttered the famous words “Indira is India and Indira is Indira” at the peak of the Emergency. “All through his life, he (Barooah) could not live with it,” said a senior political commentator.
In fact, by equating Hazare with India, just like Barooah had, Bedi had inadvertently drawn a leaf out of a chapter that country wants to forget. “If they (team Anna) are comparing today’s situation — Hazare’s arrest before he embarked on fast on Tuesday — with the Emergency, it is equally true that Bedi’s statement is reminiscent of Barooah’s statement,” the analyst said.
Bedi had earlier explained the nitty-gritties of the Jan Lokpal Bill. After her elaborate primer on the bill demanded by India Against Corruption (IAC), Bedi drew an easy-to-grasp analogy for the lokpal.
Mediapersons will ask you: ‘Lokpal mein kya hai (What’s in the Lokpal bill)?, to which you can answer, just like we have 101, the emergency number in case of fire, we can have 101 as anti-corruption helpline. Anywhere you come across corruption, call up this number and the van comes to arrest them.”
Earlier, Bedi had been up at the Ramlila grounds since morning constantly updating the crowds about Hazare’s location.