India Insight

Why is Team Anna targeting the PM?

May 30, 2012

A combative Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he would quit politics if charges of corruption in allocating coal blocks, levelled against him by Gandhian activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption team, are proved.

Singh has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to curb corruption in the government, but the one thing that has never been questioned, even by his detractors, is his integrity.

So why is Team Anna going after Singh? Especially since the allegations are based on a federal auditor’s draft report in which there is no direct proof of corruption or gains made by the prime minister.

Public support for Team Anna has waned considerably in recent months and the activists are not without their own closet skeletons.

They have  been criticised for their generalisation of the political class and officialdom as corrupt, their over-simplified view on how to fight corruption and use of crass language, like when senior member Prashant Bhushan called Singh “Shikhandi” (a mythological character in the Mahabharata) to describe him as someone who shields corrupt officials.

This is a far cry from last year when Hazare launched his first hunger strike to demand the creation of an anti-corruption ombudsman. It ignited country-wide protests against corruption and round-the-clock coverage by the media.

Enthusiasm has gradually waned after some bizarre comments by Hazare (including asking people to slap corrupt officials and calling for public flogging of alcoholics), his reported affiliation with right-wing groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and frequent clash of statements by team members on important issues.

The Hindustan Times said in an editorial that the activists should come clean on their own record on finances — like who foots the group’s bill for travel and other expenses — before renewing their campaign against corruption.

The Indian Express said the accusation against Singh and the language used was a “cheap shot” that showed Team Anna’s “desperation” in trying to remain relevant in the public eye.

Is targeting the prime minister a way back into the spotlight?

 

(You can follow David on Twitter @david_reuters)

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Is targeting the prime minister a way back into the spotlight?

Of course yes. Or else why should Team Anna harp on to the prime minister in spite of the fact that Mr. Singh had invited himself to come under the purview of Hazare’s controversial Jan Lokpal bill not long ago?

Posted by maGiK | Report as abusive
 

Just in case those who tuned in late on this page (I’ve just trespassed), here’s a rejoinder. Arvind Kejriwal, the trusted lieutenant of Anna Hazare today stormed out of a fasting undertaken jointly by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare in Delhi.

The reason (allegedly) was because Baba objected to the fire-brand spokesperson had done a name-calling of those tainted politicians.

Looks like each member in the ‘team-against-corruption’ is out to steal the limelight in their own inimical style. Would Janlokpal include a prison term in the famous bill for those who try to ‘steal the limelight’?

Posted by maGiK | Report as abusive
 

Question should be why PM shouldn’t be targeted? What has he done to curb corruption that is so rampant that people have started taking it for granted. If you are not doing anything that clearly means that one or more of the following is possible:
1. You don’t have the will or power to do it. PM has unlimited powers so lets stick with “will”. Should we have such person at the helm of affairs.
2. You are yourself not corrupt but forced by corrupt friends or master (the world clearly knows the name) to do nothing
3. You are yourself not clean

If anybody else can think of other reasons, feel free to add

Posted by sashayz | Report as abusive
 

@sashayz, let me have the pleasure of adding as you requested.

4. Hazare doesn’t believe in parliamentary democracy and believes more in a dictatorial form of govt. Read his press interview advocating tying up men and flogging & caning them for indiscipline.

5. Kejriwal was reported to have dodged taxes to the tune of Rs. 10 lacs and his reputation as a fund collector for NGOs is in question.

6. Kiran Bedi as you well know admitted herself to have defaulted on amassing unaccounted wealth through presenting inflated bills.

7. Bhushans are yet to clear their names at the court for non-payment of property tax.

8. Baba Ramdev owns an island in Scotland, let alone talking about his dubious credentials as ‘yoga medicine’ manufacturer.

Last but not the least, sashayaz (unfortunately) is sold only half the newspapers in India.

Posted by maGiK | Report as abusive
 

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