Treating the party’s defeat in Hisar as a “foregone” conclusion, Team Anna on Monday began another phase of confrontation with the Congress in UP.
It asked the party to either pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament or prepare for electoral reverses in five states next year. Gujarat, UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur are going to polls in 2012.
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare had asked the electorate in Hisar not to vote for the Congress.
Team Anna addressed a public meeting in Banda’s Ramlila ground (south-central UP), where it coined the slogan: Hisar ka sandesh, kal paanch pradesh, parson pura desh (Hisar’s message, five election-bound states tomorrow, the entire nation day after).
The team castigated Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh for his “Shikhandi” (eunuch) remark against Arvind Kejriwal. Sanjay Singh, Team Anna core committee member, asked the Congress leader to “mind his tongue”. Digvijaya Singh had dared Kejriwal to contest the election from Hisar instead of “attacking from behind” in the manner of Mahabharata character Arjun, who shot arrows at Bhishma Pitamah using Shikhandi, who was a eunuch, as his shield.
“Singh should not forget that when he was chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, a eunuch had won an election in Shahdol. The anti-Congress mood, evident from the Hisar bypoll, may spread across the country, specially in the election-bound states,” said Sanjay Singh.
Senior core team member Manish Sisodia, while responding to Digvijaya’s challenge to Anna, said if he were to launch his anti-graft stir from UP, the Congress would support it.
“If the Congress is concerned about corruption in UP, it has all the more reason to pass the Jan Lokpal bill. If the bill is passed, it would help curb corruption in a big way.”
Nearly 100 gram pradhans owing allegiance to the Banda Zila Pradhan Samiti have come out in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill and promised to join the Anna agitation. Team Anna member Gopal Rai said, “The Congress should read the writing on the wall and accede the popular demand of passing the Jan Lokpal Bill.”