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Anna agitation flipflop: The government "saint" broke fast relying on empty or hollow consolation on paper

By Gautam Thaker*

Anna Hajare had announced 'Fast Unto Death' in the last week of March 2018 at Delhi in order to pressurize the Government on the appointment of Lokpal at the Centre and that of Lok Ayukts in the States, as well as to secure fair price for farmers' crops aimed at resolving agricultural crisis as also for electoral reforms. 
While commencing his fast, he had announced that "I am firmly determined to continue my fast unless and until our demands for strong Lokpal, solution of farmers' problems and free and fair polls are met with" and had added that the Prime Minister harbours fears that upon formation of Lokpal, the P.M. Office and his cabinet colleagues shall be covered under the purview or ambit of Lokpal. Anna further stated, until concrete action plan is formulated, he will continue his indefinite fast and 'Satyaagraha'.
While Anna had started fast for an indefinite period earlier, in the year 2011, persons like Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, V. K. Singh, Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan, Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravishankar and Organization like R.S.S. etc. were associated. In order to raise anti-corruption slogans youths and concerned citizens and organizations from all over the country had joined together. In the hope of major anti-corruption revolution, people voluntarily participated in the movement and the agitation. 
The Lokpal and Lok Ayukt Act, 2013 had received approve of H.E. the President of India on 1st January 2014 and in pursuance of that, this Act came to be implemented with effect from 16-1-2014. The present rulers deliberately diluted or weakened the said Act by not providing proper infrastructural facilities, adequate funds or required man-power that were needed for effective implementation of this Act.
When the N.D.A. Government came to power at the centre in the year 2014 it was felt that to fight against corruption, implementation of said Act will be sincerely and honestly made but the present regime did not take any kind of concrete steps to that effect. During the course of four years, Anna had addressed more than 42 letters to the Central Government but the latter did not take pains to reply to even a single letter. 
During the agitation in the year 2011, people harbored thought that with the change of guards at the Centre usurping the U.P.A. regime, the country shall become corruption-free but by not initiating any steps, the new Government threw cold water on the hopes and aspirations of the people.
People were cherishing hopes and expectations that when the new Government takes over the reins of power, it will soon make appointment of Lokpal, and shall resolve the problems facing the farmers including the common men, on a war footing basis. But even after ruling for over four years, in absence of any solid – concrete steps, Anna Hajare once again commenced his fast at Delhi. But within 7 days only, he rolled back or back tracked his agitation. 
Merely on the basis of a letter of solace from the Prime Minister's Office that steps will be initiated in the direction of resolving the problems, the agitation was abruptly called back and wound up. The stalwart Social Servant Kishan Baburao alias Anna Hajare suddenly ended up his agitation. While the sun of such a person was shining or risen at its peak then all his demands were acceded to by the U.P.A. Government even by passing an Act in the parliament. 
All that he required was offered in toto. For implementation of this Act, BJP had made promise in its election manifesto for the 2014 polls. By encashing fullest benefit of that agitation, N.D.A's main constituent party i.e. B.J.P. came to power. Even though the Government changed, the talk of corruption-free nation was shelved off. 
In support of Anna's demands way back in the year 2011 even Hinduist organizations had also openly come out in the streets. They also could not bring about any solution or a change. Present rulers have indulged into uncanny passivity.
Having had lost credibility, Anna agitation did not receive enough support and the agitation met with a tragic end. Anna's image got transformed into "a Government saint" like that of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Baba Ramdeo. It is a matter of surprise that fast-breaking rites or rituals were performed at the hands of Chief Minister of Maharashtra and not a single senior or responsible representative of the Central Government had remained present. 
It is hard to predict as to what will happen if the problems do not get resolved in coming six months. Due to such types of compromises or settlements there does not appear any kind of enthusiasm among the youths or the people. It is indeed a miracle or irony of time that the masses which thronged spontaneously during Anna's agitation in the year 2011, did not openly turn out in the like numbers or measure. It is being felt that the issues which were raised by Anna shall scarcely be resolved in coming six months.
---
*National President, Indian Radical Humanist Association

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