Prashant Bhushan Says He Failed to See Through BJP-RSS Game During 2011 Anna Movement

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Anna Hazare. — File photo

Bhushan says that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrival, who was among the key figures of the Anna movement, knew that the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were behind it

Shaheen Nazar | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan says that the 2011 India Against Corruption movement that Anna Hazare led and forced the Manmohan Singh government to enact the Lok Pal Act was “propped up by the BJP and RSS”.

He made the statement during a talk show with India Today TV’s Rajdeep Sardesai. He said: “In hindsight, there are two things that I do regret. One is not seeing that the movement was to a large extent supported and propped up by the BJP-RSS for their own political purposes to bring down the Congress government and get themselves in power… I have no doubt about it (RSS-BJP role) today. He (Anna Hazare) was also probably not aware of it.”

Bhushan further says that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrival, who was among the key figures of the Anna movement, knew that the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were behind it. “I have very little doubt of that,” he said.

The second regret that Bhushan has today “is not having understood Arvind’s character earlier enough”.

He told Sardesai: “I understood it too late by which time we had actually created another Frankenstein’s monster so to say.”

Bhushan is one of the founding members of the Aam Admi Party that Kejriwal formed in November 2012 against the wishes of Hazare. In 2015, after becoming Chief Minister of Delhi, Kejriwal masterminded expulsions of Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, another founding member, from the party.

Bhushan’s statement has made headlines. However, for those who have watched the movement unfolding, it is no news. The movement had all the marks of the RSS: corporate funding of public meetings, mobilisation of RSS cadres and above all the coverage given to the movement by corporate-controlled media.

People would commonly say then that the movement has a strong backing of the Sangh Parivar. Baba Ramdeo, who had launched his own movement against corruption and black money at around the same time, had openly admitted that he was getting support from the RSS.

Hazare, though a Padma Bhushan awardee, was not a national figure. His activities were limited to his ashram in Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. But he emerged as a crusader against corruption and became a rallying point for politicians of the Left and the Right that finally paved the way for the fall of the Congress-led UPA government in the 2014 election.

The alleged corruption of the UPA government had become media fodder around the time when the RSS had decided to project Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The demand to enact a law that would see the appointment of an anti-corruption authority to be known as ‘Lok Pal’ was much older. Bills to this effect were introduced in Parliament 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008. But none of them was approved With the alleged 2G scam, the demand gained momentum that brought Hazare at the centre-stage.

Prashant Bhushan is not a politician. Maybe, he failed to see through the politics behind the Anna movement. But we cannot say the same thing about the politicians of the Left parties and the Left-leaning centrist parties as well as the so-called civil society activists. They were guided more by their anti-Congressism than corruption.

They saw in the movement an opportunity to get rid of the Congress rule. But little did they realise that they were paving the way for a party that was a proxy for a fascist organisation. The experience of the last six years proves that the nation landed in a much bigger problem than corruption.

The present regime is out to change the basic structure of India’s Constitution. It is intolerant and undemocratic. Enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens on the patterns of Assam for the whole of India are just two examples. Those opposed to it are today being hounded by the government. The way voices of dissent are being crushed has refreshed the memories of Emergency days. People say we are living in an undeclared Emergency, and it is much harsher than the actual one.

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