Anna Hazare is a shrewd political strategist.
He consciously exploited the esteem in which Mahatma Gandhi is held in India to raise his own image in the public mind.
Behind the stage during his fast, he put up a MASSIVE photo of Gandhi.
I objected sternly to this (in an old blog post).
For Anna is not a Gandhian by any stretch of imagination, and has no idea why Gandhi did what he did. He uses fasting, for instance, as a tool of blackmail, not a last resort tool of self-purification, when persuasion entirely fails.
And he has no compunction in using violence to enforce his will.
Gandhi would have strongly objected to his photo being used by Anna Hazare.
But now (through this HUGE deception) that he has become the "voice" of the common Indian, he has blocked out Arvind Kejriwal from using his photo.
"I will not go for their campaign. I have told them not to use my photo or my name in their campaign. You fight on your own" [Source]
Without the "Anna" cap, the Anna image, Kejriwal is now only left with Gandhi's image, and his own.
Even with Hazare's support, the chance of Kejriwal's "party" securing more than 1 or 2 seats in parliament in 2014 is asymptotically close to zero. Without Hazare's support, Kejriwal's own seat must necessarily be in doubt (except in Delhi or NCR).
Much ado about nothing.
A fisco just like the Baba Ramdev drama.
It seems that these demagogues come to the people without any long term plan, without a long term strategy. They "experiment" with the masses.
It is quite possible that as a result of this huge fiasco, the Indian voter and public will be put off entirely by any future "anti-corruption" movements. Once bitten, twice shy. The youth who are associated with IAC must be deeply confused and disappointed. They are young, and they have been misled. Now their "movement" has split, and they don't know whom to "pick". And why.
We are back to the hard grind of systematic preparation and HONEST messaging for policy change.
Here's an extract from a comment the writer Firoze Hirjikaka made on the Classical liberals and libertarians on Facebook group on FB. Very well said, Firoze.
Anna Hazare is little more than a glorified country bumpkin and a bit of a buffoon to boot. His unsolicited public pronouncements and summary verdicts are becoming monotonously predictable and are frankly ludicrous.
As long as Anna confined his crusade to the issue of corruption, he had a degree of credibility and even enthusiastic support. But when he sets himself up as judge and jury on everything under the sun, he just comes across looking pathetic. His latest outburst against Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi takes the cake. As is well reported by now, Singhvi was apparently filmed in a compromising position with a lady of his acquaintance.
Anna was prompt to deliver his verdict. “If he is found guilty, he should be hanged” he pronounced portentously.
Hanged for what? Since when is a sexual liaison between two consenting adults considered a crime? In my opinion, Singhvi got unnecessarily defensive by resigning his Parliamentary posts. He did not rape the woman, for heaven’s sake. What went on behind closed doors is nobody’s business except his and the lady in question.
I am aware that we have hypocritical public figures who delight in setting themselves as moral policemen and Anna probably wants to lead that brigade. Even so, to decree that Singhvi’s transgression deserves capital punishment is the height of absurdity and intolerance. You just cannot go around hanging everybody who does not meet your unreasonable standards. This is not a Clint Eastwood western.
If Anna has chosen to remain celibate, that is his personal decision. It certainly does not make him morally or spiritually superior to the overwhelming majority of humanity who lead normal lives. Even the Bible exhorts its followers to go forth and procreate. In any case, by prescribing hanging as his one stop punishment for all perceived crimes and misdemeanors, Anna is merely displaying his profound ignorance of the law and indeed, his lack of common sense. If his team does not keep him in check, it will end up with egg on its collective face.
I'm SICK to death of listening to this old "sage" tell us that he (the "hero") can't get elected because the Indian voter is ONLY driven by alcohol and money.
even today if a Rs 500 note is waved in front of people they will vote for you, and a drunkard will vote for you if he is promised alcohol' [Source]
The Indian voter (i.e. the citizen) is a GREEDY, DRUNKEN FOOL, and Anna Hazare is such a hero.
Let Anna Hazare do the right thing and CONTEST ELECTIONS.
If he keeps INSULTING the voter, though, he is SURE to be defeated.
Let him learn to respect the people.
I know he likes to beat people with an army belt, but this is getting ridiculous. How much insult should Indians take from this old medievalist?
I'm totally SICK of this kind of thinking, and the fact that this kind of a SICK man even gets media attention.
Some allegations of Anna’s involvement with RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh have emerged (see images below, as well). I’ve read the actual report carefully and can't find any evidence to suggest Anna’s membership of RSS.
Hazare, in good faith, perhaps considered only the social aspects of Deshmukh’s work. According to him, “social leaders like Deshmukh were above political ideologies, and selfish party and power politics. [And so]"If there is a picture of mine with Nanaji, does it mean that the country does not need the Jan Lokpal Bill and there is no need to tackle corruption by ministers and political leaders," the 74-year-old activist asked.” [Source]
RSS is not a banned organisation, and if Anna worked with it (without being a member) then there is nothing more to say about it.
What does undermine his work is ONLY this: that his blind faith in the Lokpal does not even REMOTELY address the causes of corruption.
If he wants corruption to be removed, he must vigorously advocate capitalism and seek the abolition of socialist policies. (But recently he opposed FDI in retail, so it is almost certain that he is a staunch socialist. Therefore, his methods and policy goals for India will merely ADD to the existing inefficiency and corruption prevalent in India.
(Images I've extracted from Nai Duniya ).
Anna Hazare is either a fool or a shrewd politician.
1) If he thinks that ONLY Congress is corrupt then he is a TOTAL fool.
2) If he is using the platform of Jan Lokpal Bill to browbeat Congress and install BJP in its place (recall his praise of Modi) then he is a very shrewd politician. Recall also that BJP said they'd make him President of India. There's something really fishy about his actions.
Time will tell us more about Mr Hazare. But the statements he makes today are simply ONE SIDED in favour of BJP and against Congress. That's simply not good enough for a person who is allegedly against corruption.
E.g. it is now reported: "Anna Hazare today said Government has 'cheated' the entire country and that he will carry on his campaign till next Lok Sabha elections to create awareness against UPA." [Source]
By all means campaign against the Congress – which is, after all, nothing but a gang of incompetent thugs.
But please do not do so EXCLUSIVELY. Be even-handed and ask the people to shun the BJP and ALL other corrupt political parties, as well.
Any statement or effort designed to oppose ONLY the Congress will be read by the Indian public as implicit support for BJP. That, Mr. Hazare, will doom you to the wilderness as a MERE STOOGE of the rabidly communal, corrupt force known as BJP.
No one wants to vote for BJP. That is a dying (socialist) political party of no consequence to modern India. You must oppose BJP equally.
What is needed is a NEW political formation that advocates LIBERTY in India.
But you seem to have already joined the bandwagon of those opposing liberty (e.g. your vigorous opposition to FDI in retail). You can't offer India either liberty or prosperity. You belong to India's medieval era. Pack up and go back to 1500 AD.
Go home, now, Anna. Your job is done. You raised awareness about corruption but have SIMPLY NO IDEA about the causes of corruption. And you therefore have no practical solution to offer.Go back to your village where you can stop all democratic elections and continue tying people to poles and beating them up with your army belt.
Don't browbeat Congress while sparing the BJP. Get rid of both these corrupt forces EQUALLY, else you are now surely exposed as a petty, self-seeking politician.
Ramesh suggested that we should try to reform Anna, instead of criticising him – for after all, he has "good intentions".
I almost agreed, saying that Anna Hazare is perhaps just too simple a man who, in his flawed simplicity, sometimes takes the law into his own hands.
But when I saw this response on TV (below) I was shocked. [Story here]
What Anna said is shocking, but what the way he said it is beyond belief.
His "holier-than-thou" approach is OBNOXIOUS. He imagines he is the ONLY paragon of virtue in India (despite lashing people with belts and doing other violent things).
How can one reform this man, Ramesh? I'm lost for words. I'd rather stay away from this THIRD RATE fellow.
I am almost coming to the stage when I can't distinguish Anna Hazare from any other RSS/ABVP/Shiv Sena thug.
Mr. Hazare, your much-vaunted ability to fast is no substitute for good sense. Your true calibre (which is extremely LOW) is now coming to the fore.
Please don't hide behind photos of Gandhi.
You bring great shame to Gandhi.