Indian Decade

Anna Hazare Goes on Attack

Congress won’t have welcomed news that Anna Hazare is calling for voters to turn against its candidate.

The kid gloves are finally off. Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare has declared open political war against the Congress Party. In a make-or-break move heavily tinged with politics, the nation’s anti-corruption face has become the newest political opponent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
On Friday, Hazare released a 10-minute compact disc titled 'The Government of the Corrupt,' exhorting the voters of Hissar not to vote for the Congress in the October 13 Lok Sabha by-election.
Hazare is angry with the Congress because its candidate hasn't supported the Hazare-backed Jan Lokpal ombudsman bill drafted by civil society. Indeed, at the time of writing, Congress candidate Jai Prakash, a former union minister, had apparently failed to respond to an open letter from Hazare threatening to campaign against the Congress candidate if he didn't receive a written undertaking to support the bill. Campaigning for the Hissar poll ends on October 10.

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Hazare's CD contains video appeals not only from Hazare himself, but also close lieutenants including Arvind Kejriwal.

'We have appealed to the people in this poll. Congress should be defeated as it has failed to bring the Jan lokpal Bill,' the CD says. Kejriwal, for his part, says: 'If you do not vote for Congress today, then Congress will get a message that in the coming elections, they will not get votes if they do not bring Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter Session of Parliament.' He added that the Hissar election would change the political destiny of the nation if the voters were to pay heed to their appeal.

Hazare's intervention has thrown the race wide open, and it would clearly be a major setback for the Congress party if it were to lose this by-election, which has suddenly acquired national importance. But if Prakash wins, Anna Hazare undoubtedly loses. This is something that Hazare and company won’t be prepared for.