India Against Corruption (IAC) campaigners made all out efforts on Monday to disassociate themselves from being identified with right-wing organisations. This included changing the backdrop for the stage and bringing on board in left-wing Muslim intelligentsia at Ramlila Ground.
As against the April agitation at Jantar Mantar, when the backdrop for the stage was a huge Bharat Mata poster with photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, this time it is only a huge photo of Mahatma Gandhi — printed on a vinyl sheet — that shows up prominently behind Anna Hazare.
Along with the Bharat Mata poster, slogans like 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' repeatedly used by comperes had prompted anti-right wing organisations to criticise the movement's affiliation and inclinations, specially with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“There were several issues raised at Jantar Mantar, as unfortunately, people identified 'Bharat Mata' with RSS. We, including Anna Hazare, therefore decided to have only Mahatma Gandhi as the backdrop,” said Manish Sisodia, an IAC member.
The ghost of the alleged 'RSS connection' continued to haunt Team Anna as Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari of Jama Masjid on Sunday reportedly said that Muslims should not participate in the agitation as 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' were against the tenets of Islam.
“We have no objection to Hazare's fight against corruption but he should include Muslims in his fight. How can you expect to include Muslims with Vande Mataram?” Bukhari asked.
However, his idea was trashed at Ramlila Ground when Dr Ali Javed from the Progressive Writers' Association, an organisation representing left-wing intelligentsia, said, “Maadare Vatan slogan was coined in Urdu long ago. It means salutation to the motherland. Why should anybody oppose Vande Mataram?”
Javed, from the department of Urdu at the Delhi University said, “Does Islam say do not oppose corruption, do not fight for your rights? The fight against corruption can be joined without raising this slogan.”