Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Hazare, Ramdev talking point for Congress, BJP
National parties fight each other over civil society activists
New Delhi: So, has the Congress revised its view of Anna Hazare and Ramdev in the last few weeks. Yes, said Congress spokesman Manish Twari. “If the assumption behind your question is whether the Congress did not know that Hazare and Ramdev represented the reactionary forces, then the answer is we did not now. We spoke to them in good faith. We gave them the benefit of doubt. But yes, we have now revised our view.”
The Congress members of the government were deeply engaged with both Anna Hazare and yoga instructor Ram Dev. But after the June 4 midnight police crackdown on the Ramdevn yoga camp at Ramlila Maidan and the eviction of Ramdev, Hazare and his associates had declared solidarity with Ramdev despite differences on details.
Faced with this united opposition from civil society activists, the Congress and party's members in the government have decided to hit out against Hazare and Ramdev.
“Anna Hazare's statements are unfortunate. There is a glimpse of confusion. On the one hand, he claims to be a Gandhian, but his responses are angry and violent. It appears that he is not speaking his is language but that of the forces behind him. He is reading their script. Given his age we symptahise with him,” Tiwari said.
The Congress went against civil society representatives firing all guns. “If there is a danger to democracy, it is from the tyranny of the un-elected,” the spokesman declared.
With finance minister Pranab Mukherjee criticising openly and bitterly Hazare and also blaming the Rashtriya swayasemvak Sangh (RSS) influencing the civil society activists, the party and the Congress members of the government are together hitting out against the RSS and other right-wing organisations for trying to destabilise the government.
On the other, Bharaitya Janata Party )BJP) spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy took strong exception to Mukherjee's no-holds barred attack, and advised Hazare and Ramdev that they should not respond to any of the criticisms emanating from a government that has lost its moral credibility.
When asked by the DNA whether the BJP was in agreement with Hazare and Ramdev broadly and whethet there were disagreements on details, Rudy said that Hazare and Ramdev are supplementing the anti-corruption agenda articulated by the main opposition party. He would not spell out clearly the points of agreement and disagreement.
Though the BJP has been more vocal in its support of Ramdev than that of Hazare, today the party has decided to be supportive of the two civil society opponents of the government in equal measure and not too make too much of a distinction between the two. Party insiders are more wary of Hazare, and feel that the yoga instructor carries greater political weight because of his large following.
Both senior and middle level leaders of the BJP have set their hopes on Ramdev as popular vote-catcher more than even Hazare. But the party is not too keen to look into the issue of assets owned by Ramdev.
In the process, the two major parties, the Congress and the BJP, are literally fighting with each through Hazare and Ramdev, Congress attacking them, and the BJP defending them. The civil society activists must be pleased that they have become the political talking point.
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