Friday, August 26, 2011

Anti corruption agitation by Anna - Final analysis

Anna Hazare
On 27th Aug 2011, Team Anna has succeeded in extracting an assurance from the parliament to enact a stronger Lokpal bill.  Here is an analysis of the responses of various social stakeholders.

First of all, Team Anna had not done their homework on circumventing the difficulties that they would face while pressing the political class to toe their line. They had a draft bill of their version. But rest of the dynamics of the agitation was not worked out by them. They were expecting that the fast by Anna will do the rest of the work.

The communication by Team Anna was not accurate and simple. People were rallying behind them. But, it was not easy for the public to understand the reasons behind the delay in progress when the negations between the Team Anna and the government. Team Anna was reluctant to initiate a matured debate on corruption. They were engaged in rhetoric and increasing the public anger. Probably their lack of home work forced them to toe this line and it was clear that they could not raise the quality of the public debate and understanding of the systemic issues involved.

Initially, Team Anna was suspected by the Left, The Congress and the BJP. Social organizations like Sangh Parivar were not admitted eagerly by the Team Anna. Tactical mistakes by Team Anna were delaying the support from various quarters which they deserved.

Congress, the ruling party at the centre, made several mistakes in responding to the demands. It initially showed insensitivity to the demands with underestimated public support. Even when the wider support base was revealed, it tried to scuttle the agitation by creating several hurdles in the form of technicalities and procedures. It made an attempt to portray the agitation as a mask of Leftist, Maoist and Anarchist forces who are waiting to dismantle the democratic institutions in India. They tried to arrest Anna to prevent him from starting a fasting agitation. Even when everything has failed, it still took time to come to terms with the agitation.

BJP took a very long time to assess the nature of the agitation. Only after 10 days of fasting their representatives met meaningfully with Team Anna for a detailed understanding of various issues. Till then they refused to respond to the public agitation and they were watching the difficulties of the government and were probably making an assessment of electoral gain that they may be able to get because of the agitation.

Left inspired Dalit leaders opposed Team Anna citing lack of Dalit representation in the movement. Muslim leaders stayed away from the agitation opposing Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai slogan used by agitators. Among the social organizations, RSS was a big success in responding to the public agitation. They announced their support early even when the equations of Team Anna with other ideologies and interest groups was very hazy. Sangh Parivar could calibrate their position carefully. They faced the risk of being labeled as opportunistic in attempting to ride the wave created by Team Anna. Their simple approach of committing to the cause could not be imitated by either Leftist, Muslim or Dalit intellectuals. Christians stayed completely outside the mass movement.

In the final analysis, Team Anna will be remembered for their contribution towards anti corruption agitation. Congress needs to introspect and adopt more honest approach in dealing with issues of public interest. BJP too has to be more social conscious and less political in its thinking and actions. Sangh Parivar might have moved ahead in reinforcing the public attitude in terms of cultural nationalistic mannerisms.


Tactical moves of Team Anna
Now, Anna demands poll reforms, farmers rights.

Government / Political Response

Social response

Muslim leaders oppose – common people support

Leftist intellectuals