I am talking about (1) ‘Swami’ Agnivesh, a known supporter of Kashmiri separatists and Maoists, (2) Medha Patkar, notorious for blocking development projects like the Narmada Dam, and (2) Mallika Sarabai, a known Modi-baiter. Sandeep Pandey is another dubious character who is supporting HazareJi.
The media’s over-enthusiasm in giving live coverage to the event giving too much importance to Agnivesh is also suspicious. Swami Ram Dev held a historic rally at the Ram Leela Maidan in New Delhi on 27th February 2011, where more than a lakh attended. The entire media blocked out the event. Similarly, the two-day seminar held in New Delhi on 2-3 April 2011, which has formed an ‘Anti-Corruption Front’ with Swami Ram Dev as its patron, also did not find much coverage in the media.
Does this mean that an obliging media is trying to drive a wedge between Swami Ram Dev and Anna Hazareji? The Seminar was addressed by a group of people, known for fighting against corruption, like Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, S. Gurumurthy, Govindacharya, Ajit Doval, Bhure Lal, Justice J.S. Verma, Subhash Kashyap, former CJI M.N. Venkatachalliah, etc. etc. And Anna Hazare ji is being supported by an entirely different group of people with dubious characters.
Anna Hazare’s letter to the PM, where he has batted for the NAC, an extra-constitutional body with members like Harsh Mander, is also creating doubts. Is he in the grip of anti-national and anti-social NGOs?
Hazare Ji’s demand is only to enact one Lokpal Bill. Swami Ram Dev is campaigning for bringing in the entire black money stashed abroad by corrupt politicians. Why can’t Hazare Ji include this demand (nationalisation of assets kept abroad by Indians) also? Does this not serve Sonia’s purpose?
Hazareji and his group want to keep politicians away. Presuming that due to the groundswell of support to Hazareji’s fast, the govt. falls (as it happened in Egypt), what is the alternative? Does he have an alternative political set up to run the country? - as Swami Ram Dev is planning. Without that, will there not be anarchy?
It has become a fashion to say, ‘it is non-political’. This is idiocy. What is the alternative to politics? In our country, every thing, including the air you breathe, depends on politics. Without politics, there will be anarchy. What we need is good and honest politicians. Swami Ram Dev has understood this. Hence, he is forming a political party shortly, and trying to send honest people to parliament - the right decision.
Also we have seen this type of mass frenzy immediately after 26/11. But when election comes, the same people vote for the culprit. After blaming the congress government for the 26/11/2008, when election was held in April 2009, all the six parliamentary seats in Mumbai went for the congress. Similarly, In spite of being termed as the "Rape Capital" and of misgovernance, Delhi voters elect Sheela Dixit again and again. How can you trust these people, for a change? I doubt whether many of them even vote!
Sometime back, I wrote to Swami Ram Dev complaining against ‘Swami’ Agnivesh, Medha Patkar, and Mallika Sarabai, for including them in "India Against Corruption". I noted their absence in the 2-day seminar which formed the "Anti- Corruption Front" and was happy. I do not know whether IAC and ACF are complimentary to each other or competitive, although both the forums seem to be headed by Swami Ram Dev.
If at all there is a split between Hazareji and Swami Ram Dev (God forbid), which will definitely help the congress, I am with the latter. Swami Ram Dev has a clear vision and a plan. He is not running away from politics. And that is his strength. Anna Hazareji should strengthen Swami Ram Dev’s movement for Neyi Azadi and Nayi Vyavastha, and should not do anything to weaken it.
For corruption in the country, the entire blame should be on Congress. Swami Ram Dev is articulating this forcefully, but Anna Hazareji does not. He seems to support the unconstitutional NAC headed by Sonia Gandhi. In a democracy, the opposition (BJP) should do what Hazareji is doing, but is not doing it for obvious reasons. Swami Ram Dev is providing the rigtht alternative under a democratic set up, which we all should support. I am sure Anna Hazareji, a true Gandhian, would understand this better than anyone else. He should be cautious about the ‘opportunists’ around him or even get rid of them, and align with Swami Ram Dev’s Bharat Swabhimaan Andolan.
Today noon, Swami Ram Dav has visited Jantar Mantar and has pledged his support to Hazareji’s fast. Still the doubts remain and the questions remain unanswered.
I now await brickbats and bouquets.
Editor, Hindu Voice & National Spirit