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    Posted on 21 September 2011
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    JAN LOKPAL

    Team Anna and the art of apolitical politics

    The IAC terms Hisar by-polls on 13 October a ‘referendum’ and a ‘litmus test’, will distribute CD with “Anna’s message” to the voters

    Nikhil M Ghanekar
    New Delhi

    Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi at a press meet


    Members of India Against Corruption (IAC) better known as Team Anna, have now targetted poll-bound states and constituencies to take their Jan Lokpal movement ahead. After their recently concluded trip to Hisar, Haryana, the anti-corruption activists Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi have now decided to launch an aggressively “political” campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Team Anna has called the October 13 Hisar by-polls a ‘referendum’ and a ‘litmus test’. In what looks to be another “Us Vs them” strategy, Kejriwal and his colleagues have announced, that the candidates fighting the Hisar by-polls should support their Bill. Not only that, they have asked candidates to “get written assurances” from their respective party presidents declaring their support. As an example they named Kuldeep Bishnoi of Haryana Janhit Congress, who recently forged an alliance with BJP, asking him to get an undertaking from the BJP President.

    This assurance if not given by 30 September will invite aggressive campaigning against them by IAC and they will also exhort people to vote against candidate who does not support Jan Lokpal Bill. All this while maintaining their “apolitical” status. The team said that their, “planned campaigns in various election bound states will not be in support of any political party.” Anna Hazare’s presence during the campaigning in Hisar is not confirmed yet though IAC will distribute a CD containing Anna’s video message to the voters.

    As Kiran Bedi liked to put it, the voters will be able to gauge how “honest” their candidates are depending on their support to Jan Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal pointed repeatedly that this move and campaign is not against any one political party but for the cause of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal also made it clear that they will launch a similar programme in poll-bound Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand. “This will be a test whether parties are going back on their promise made during the Ramlila agitation or sticking to their promise of supporting the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Parliament,” he said.

    “We need Jan Lokayukta’s in all the states rather than yatra’s. It is unfortunate that the Gujarat Lokayukta Act will be amended to bring in the Chief Minister on the Lokayukta selection panel.”

    The IAC will be concentrating only on making Jan Lokpal bill an issue in the forthcoming elections. When asked about the key issues in Hisar constituency, Prashant Bhushan said: “As of now we are concentrating only on Lokpal. But the plan to build a nuclear power plant near Hisar and the forceful land acquisition process is a major issue there. Atomic power plants cannot be forced on people without their consent.”

    The next stage of Team Anna’s movement will also involve Anna Hazare himself visiting all the poll-bound states as part of a yatra for Jan Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal brushed aside LK Advani’s proposed Yatra and said, “We need Jan Lokayukta’s in all the states rather than yatra’s. It is unfortunate that the Gujarat Lokayukta Act will be amended to bring in the Chief Minister on the Lokayukta selection panel.”

    Nikhil M Ghanekar is a Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
    nikhil@tehelka.com


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    Posted on 21 September 2011
 
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