Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Congress view of Anna Hazare – RSS will co-opt him but he does not have RSS links

Congress party sources admit that social activist and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's protest fast with its saturation media coverage and palpable popular sympathy and support has embarrassed the Congress-led UPA government of Manmohan Singh. 'There is no denying it. It has caused embarrassment to the government,” admits a party functionary who wants to remain anonymous. But he thinks that it will not be more than an irritant among the many that the government has been subjected to in recent months.

He also says that Anna Hazare is a man of unimpeachable integrity and that he has done exemplary work in his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra. But he thinks that the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) – the Congress' ideological bete noire – would want to exploit the anti-corruption protest that Anna Hazare has kicked off, and that the BJP would want to benefit from it as well in the political arena. “The RSS had co-opted Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) movement in the 1970s and they would want to do it with Anna Hazare as well now,” he says. He is quite certain that Anna Hazare himself has no RSS links and that he has taken on everyone on the corruption issue including the Shiva Sena ministers in Maharashtra.

Th official is also of the view that for the poor voter in rural Tamil Nadu, corruption is not a hot button issue. He says it is only the middle class in urban areas which is drawn to the issue raised by Hazare. He thinks that corruption is a fact of democracy anywhere in the world, and that it cannot be wished away.

Meanwhile, in the Congress office at 24 Akbar Road, the Congress officials were keen to talk about the election schedules of party president Sonia Gandhi, general secretary Rahul Gandhi and prime minister Manmohan Singh. According to a party source schedules are being worked out for the big Congress leaders to address election rallies in West Bengal where multi-phased assembly polls will take off next week.

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