India Against Corruption

Non-Congress, Non –BJP Government Stand Irks Kiran Bedi

In its October 26, 2011 issue of New York Times, Manu Joseph wrote an article “A Movement Flayed by Self Interest” where the description of Kiran Bedi on the dais of Anna Hazare was discreetly given as below:
“One of the most important people who has Mr. Hazare’s ancient ear is Kiran Bedi, a serious woman with short hair combed sideways and clever eyes full of meaning. She not only whispers to Mr. Hazare; she also usually sits beside him when he is on television. In August, as Mr. Hazare fasted on the dais, she threw a towel over her face and playacted to show that politicians cannot be trusted because they wear masks.”
The article continues:
“days ago, her own little scam was exposed. It turns out that Ms. Bedi has been using the Gallantry Award to buy discounted air tickets and charging her hosts — public function organizers and the like — full business-class fares. Ms. Bedi does not deny this. She says that she fudged the bills to feed her organization, which provides social services that includes spreading literacy and improving the condition of impoverished women.”
Today the very news that Kiran Bedi skips the India Against Corruption Rally comes as a shock wave. It is in no way logically tenable that corruption movement should be targeted against Congress only and not against BJP. In the Times of India (Aug 26,2012) the news report makes it clear that Kiran Bedi wants BJP to replace Congress.

Asked the reason for Bedi's absence, IAC head Arvind Kejriwal told reporters: "On this issue she (Bedi) probably feels that the BJP can give the country a good government. But the BJP can't." All these show that India Against Corruption movement is facing ahead a rift. Ramdev had already skipped out and criticized Anna Team for joining politics. Ramdev is also seen very close to BJP and its sister organizations. Anna Hazare who describes himself as a Gandhian cannot be hobnobbing with the communal parties and should maintain a secular image. Many allies of NDA are reluctant to associate with the Hazare movement if the association with BJP and RSS is too overtly flaunted.

The targeting of both BJP and Congress for maintaining equidistance seems to be a new tactic of Anna Hazare to insist that no party is able to give a future to the country. But of late, the India Against Corruption has faced a big hurdle in doing so. The nine hour drama staged by India Against Corruption on the Delhi streets on August 27 attracted the attention of the news media because of two reasons. One, the protestors targeted both Congress and the BJP leaders. Two, Kiran Bedi strikes a note of dissent and skips.

Kiran Bedi’s personal perspective is very simple. Being a member of the erstwhile Anna Team, she still feels a gratefulness to the support of BJP extended to the anti corruption crusaders on the Lokpal Bill. The party in power and the opposition are bracketed into one. The Economic Times quoted Anna Hazare saying “those whose hands are "blackened" with corruption are levelling allegations against each other and they cannot provide any future to the country.’ In his new blog, Hazare said “ people would have to think now that no party would give a future to the country..”

The draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill was prepared taking cue from Hong Kong’s Independent Commision Against Corruption. In April 2011, Anna Hazare called the nation to press the government for the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. On April 5, 2011, people across India came together in support of Annaji’s crusade against corruption in the Gandhian style. On 16 August 2011, Hazare began an indefinite fast pressurizing government to introduce and enact the Jan Lokpal Bill in place of the government’s own proposed Lokpal Bill. Thousands of social organizations, NGOs across India and some political parties asscociated with NDA have expressed support for the campaign with a large proportion of support coming from BJP backed students wing along with the Left students organizations. But the central government rejected the demands and Arvind Kejriwal along with others went on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar on 25th of July 2012. The fast was broken on 3rd of August with a resolve to accelerate the movement against corruption both within and outside Parliament.

Team Anna in the meantime stated that there was a need for a political alternative that would not compromise on corruption. The fight was not for power but for changing the system. But it cannot now compromise with Kiran Bedi and spare corruption stained BJP leaders. Such pressure exerted by Kiran Bedi is also unexpected of a social activist of her stature. But such things happen and the article on such a luminary published in New York Times last year made her motives clear. So today it is not at all surprising that Kiran Bedi skips out of the anti corruption movement. But the burnt child dreads the fire.

Many promises have been made in the past to fight out corruption. Jawaharlal Nehru is said to have repeated that the black marketers will be hanged from the nearest lampposts. Not a single such blackened soul is hanged or will be hanged. Let us see what Anna really can do with people like Kiran Bedi, Ramdev and Kejriwal with him. Nowhere it is said or promised the BJP, if found corrupted, cannot be targeted. So Kiran Bedi’s skipping out is not understandable.
Links : (I am indebted to for some facts)
1. In India, a Movement Frayed by Self-Interest    
2. Kiran Bedi skips India Against Corruption protest rally, opposes targeting of BJP 


More by :  Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee

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