In a move aimed at killing two birds in one stroke, the Congress strategists are asking noted social activist Anna Hazare to launch his nationwide campaign against corruption from Narendra Modi-run Gujarat. “He could start the campaign from any Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state,” a CWC member said. The suggestion has come at a time when the main Opposition has been trying to fix the Congress over the graft issue inside and outside Parliament.
Gujarat will be going to Assembly polls next year, which will also see Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, besides Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. Mr Hazare’s campaign could certainly embarrass the BJP in Karnataka where chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has been facing the Opposition’s charge of encouraging corruption.
The BJP is not in a position to gain any mileage out of a Lokpal Bill if it is passed by Parliament in the coming Monsoon Session. “Mr Anna Hazare and Dr Manmohan Singh will get full credit for the historic piece of legislation,” an Opposition MP felt. Mr Hazare plans to tour some places in Uttar Pradesh by the end of this month to create awareness among people against corruption. This could help the Congress, BJP and even the Samajwadi Party to some extent as they will try to exploit it against the Mayawati government.
The current mood in the Centre is not to disturb Mr Hazare. “Let him speak on any issue — corruption, Lokpal Bill, right to recall, electoral reforms — and tour across the country,” well-placed sources said. The Centre is watching the longevity of Mr Hazare’s campaign. No political party is willing to join Mr Hazare’s campaign at this juncture after realising that he cannot launch the agitation with the help of so-called civil society or the NGOs.
Meanwhile, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday said Mr Hazare is surrounded by NGOs who are bogus. “Unfortunately, Hazare is surrounded by NGOs who are bogus. He needs politicians to handle politicians,” he said. Asian Age