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Team Anna, all fire and anger again

india Updated: Feb 27, 2012 20:48 IST

Hindustan Times
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Team Anna, which led the hugely popular Jan Lokpal movement last year, made news again when their senior leader accused politicians of watching porn in the "temples of democracy".


"Parliament and assemblies are temples of democracy and they (politicians) watch blue films in temples, tear Bills and throw chairs," said Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter. He got headlines but for months now the movement for a strong Lokpal bill has been out of public focus. The Lokpal bill has not been a top issue in elections in five states this year, leading Team Anna members to talk about voters' right to reject candidates and waiting for 2014.

Uttar Pradesh, the test ground for Team Anna, has been lukewarm to the Lokpal debate in the state elections. Anna Hazare, the top leader and mascot of the movement, has been in poor health and was unable to campaign in the state for the Lokpal bill. Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, another senior member of India Against Corruption, too have not campaigned in the state vigorously though in January the team had announced extensive tours.

Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia, two other senior leaders of the Lokpal movement have been touring Uttar Pradesh but the former IPS officer's has herself said the state elections are a mere "rehearsal" and their focus was the 2014 general elections.

Hazare, too, talks of waiting till 2014 for a "year of change". "Mentality of the Indian youth is changing rapidly, and the year 2014 would be the year of change. If the youth resolve, they can change the system," he said recently.

Team Anna members are not winning headlines for the Lokpal movement and at the same time they have been getting bad publicity with their statements "disrespecting" Parliament and democracy.

"In this Parliament, 163 members have cases of heinous offences against them," Kejriwal said in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday. "In this Parliament, rapists are sitting, murderers and looters are sitting," he said.

The Congress and the BJP strongly condemned his statement.

"Parliament has a majority of people who are willing to do anything for the country. They reach there through hard work. Such statements not only insult democracy and Parliament, but also insult the people of the country," said a Congress spokesperson.

"While trying to portray themselves as honest, some people create the impression that the whole world is dishonest. Such statements show that such people have no faith in Indian democracy, the Indian constitution and Parliament," said the BJP.

Team Anna members' anger against politicians perhaps comes from the feeling that politcians "betrayed" them when Rajya Sabha failed to pass the Lokpal Bill. They have repeatedly alleged "choreographed" chaos by all parties led to the Bill being stalled in Rajya Sabha.

Ahead of UP election, Team Anna wrote a letter to BSP, Congress, BJP and SP and demanded the parties spell out their stand on demands for a strong Lokpal Bill. The parties did put Lokpal bill on their manifestos but the election itself has been led by debates on reservation for minorities, development, anti-incumbency and youth aspirations.

Team Anna members have failed to make the Lokpal bill a burning issue--their fiery tweets and statements show that.

In pics: Anna takes Tihar | In pics: Many moods of Anna | In Pics: Anna in Mumbai

Incredible quotes of Team Anna members

Gram Sabhas are bigger than Parliament: Anna Hazare (January 2012)
"The 550 people were giving their own suggestions. Nobody asked the people. So we need another law. Assemblies and Lok Sabha think that they are above gram sabhas. But gram sabhas are above you. We need a new law which gives such a power to gram sabhas," Hazare said in a video message.

Ek hi mara: Anna Hazare (November 2011)
While Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was recovering after a being slapped in public, Gandhian Anna Hazare was caught on wrong foot when he gave a reaction statement to the media saying "bas ek hi mara?" Anna later clarified that "if it is perceived that I have said something wrong, I am ready to apologise".

A plebiscite should be held in Kashmir: Prashant Bhushan (October 2011)
Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan was caught unaware when he was attacked after his remarks on Kashmir, for which even Anna Hazare took an indirect dig at him. "Saying some people talk "incoherent" things about Kashmir though they cannot do anything on ground," said Anna.

Bhushan later said, "If defending a victim of police atrocity is seditious, then I am happy to be called one. I have no regrets on my remarks on Kashmir. those are my views," Bhushan said.

Kiran Bedi's 'ghoonghat act' at Ramlila Maidan (August 2011)
When Anna Hazare was fasting at Ramlila Maidan in August last year, his close aide and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi took the stage and entertained the audience with her antics while mocking the MPs. Bedi stayed defiant and refused to apologise. "Sorry no apology for being demonstratively a voice of public anguish. Prepared for any punishment," she had tweeted.

Hindustan Times take on Team Anna movement

A perfect misadventure
The way the Congress government is handling the Anna Hazare and lokpal episode shows how lack of political acumen can lead to political disaster.

Takes two to untangle
The Hazare agitation is by no means the only peaceful protest that governments have sought to crush.

Anna for his thoughts
A clarion call to root out corruption had to and has met with a roaring reception and the result is there for all to see.

Show a mighty heart
A letter to Anna Hazare.

I am NOT Anna and don't want to be Anna
Let me confess: I also find Anna Hazare preachy, prickly, sanctimonious, dogmatic and dictatorial.