After a long span of silence, social activist Anna Hazare has started an indefinite hunger strike in Delhi yet again. Coinciding with the death anniversary of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Rajguru, the hunger strike is being carried out nearly seven years after his anti-corruption movement that shook the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. As the strike gathers ground, the question that arises is - will the protest give birth to another Arvind Kejriwal?
The protest venue is the same — Ramlila Lila Maidan. Only the ruling government at the Centre is different. Last time, it was the UPA government in power. This time, it is Narendra Modi’s BJP-led government. And familiar faces like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi along with core members of 2011 protest are not to be seen in the ongoing Hazare’s fight against corruption.
The 80-year-old Hazare sat on a hunger strike against corruption at the Ramlila Maidan in 2011. Thousands supported him. The anti-corruption crusader demanded proper investigation into corruptions cases in the country.
Hazare has been pressing for the setting up of the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states. He has also been demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report.
This time, however, prior to starting the protest, Hazare had categorically said that he did not want another Arvind Kejriwal and banned him from joining the protest.
The grand-old activist, learning lessons from the 2011 protest, which was supported by millions across the country, has taken several preventive measures to check that no person or group takes benefit of his anti-corruption protest to fulfil personal political agenda like Bedi and Kejriwal, who left the movement to join mainstream politics.
Also, Hazare, who is on protest to highlight farmers issues and to press for a lokayukta in every state, has a complete fresh team from across the country with grassroot connections.
The Ramlila Maidan protest this time is being organised by 20 fresh faces selected from 6000 volunteers from across the nation. All the volunteers have submitted an affidavit with Hazare stating that they will never join mainstream politics.
To ensure the Centre listens to their voices, Hazare has distributed roles and responsibilities for every volunteer. The 6000 volunteers will be with Hazare till the time protest lasts and ensure people in large numbers join the protest in Delhi. The team has also been given responsibility to motion the protest across the country and raise lokayukta and farmers issue.