Cocktail of RSS-BJP & Anna

Anna

Now is the time may be RSS-BJP need to really do some serious ‘chintan,’ introspection. How the whole Anna andolan has eventually boomeranged on them, because of that one man-Arvind Kejriwal. While the RSS-BJP supported ONLY Anna Hazare, the how, when, where, why in the following paras, the fact is BJP leaders went in such a huddle that they couldn’t thereafter maximise the public outcry post Delhi gang-rape, despite some RSS functionaries from Maharashtra telling the formidable ladies of BJP to joint the morcha.

A true opportunity missed by them to divert public attention from Nitin Gadkari. But then what do you expect from a party that stands so divided and traumatised to see one leader from Gujarat become a bigger persona than not only the BJP but also the parent outfit, RSS. Along with it, double fear was that public may turn hostile. Everything that was going smoothly for RSS-BJP seemed just wrong. However, the fact is, it was skewed right from the beginning. With warring And dominating personalities like Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal, it is no surprise that the sacrifice was paid by Anna Hazare…more over the creator of all this JLP Bill andolan-RSS-BJP.

The Indian public still lives in an illusion that Jantar-Mantar andolan was ‘spontaneous’ and Anna felt the pulse of the people’s angst. Wrong. It was directed, motivated and initiated as an andolan by the RSS. However the background for this begins from Maharashtra and that too on an independent level. Post 90s, and especially the ‘Jal Samadhi’ fiasco of Medha Patkar.  Well, after repeated threats, having gone on dying fast which attracted world’s media, Patkar called off the Samadhi,  which dissolved the entire anti-Narmada dam movement impacting the credibility of activists, NGOs of the state & civil rights movement. The civil society in Maharashtra thereafter maintained a low-profile. Splintered and shattered, it took many other andolans for the activists to get regroup themselves together as united force.

Among the many activist, one in Rallegaon Siddhi, Ahmednagar dist, an uneducated but committed man made a difference using traditional watershed management methods. A dry arid area was converted into green, agriculturally thriving zone. Anna Hazare began getting world famous (no sarcasm) for his watershed management projects. He would go around giving talks, seminars. He also began putting his foot as an activist in speaking against many corruption issues. His potential was seen and tapped by Kumar Sapatarshi, Baba Adhav and Avinash Dharmadhikari. Now, Dharmadhikari has been known to be very close to the RSS. The whole ploy of RSS to disrupt governments is as old as that of the Maoists. The RSS does not believe in the Constitution, India a secular state. This is the basis of their ideology. So they have not only tapped but penetrated every section of the democracy, every branch of the system to perpetuate this very ideology.  Except they don’t take up arms.

This group tried and tested Anna, they made a formidable opposition and kept the government on its toes. The Congress being absolutely experienced in ‘managing’ realised it was easy to get around Anna  than the other members. So Anna became the person they would deal with, felicitate and get him to negotiate with the governments. This upset the others and they parted, while Anna continued on his own, ably supported by many political parties.

Around 2009, the civil society activists and many of RSS NGO outfits began regrouping. The mood of the public was increasingly angry, impatience building as inflation was rising, while more and more cases of politicians misusing power for their and kin benefits began surfacing. The activists felt it was time to tackle this on a larger platform with a formidable outfit that can address these issues. By then the RTI was implemented and pressure for implementing the Jan Lok Pal Bill was building. Initially Medha Patkar was in the forefront, but people raised issues about her credibility. She didn’t make it an ego-issue and put forward the name of Anna Hazare to lead this movement. It took this entire force to re-group, set up their whole organisation and movement from grass-root to national level. Among all of these the one who is political and has experience of dealing with politicians was Medha Patkar (that she screwed many an opportunities in Narmada movement is another story altogether). Hence the planning and action plan took a while before all talks with various sections of society concretised.

There RSS led NGOs had communicated the developments to the functionaries. RSS within its set-up began contacting their Babas and various groups. I’d broken the story with visual evidence how Baba Ramdev had met RSS top functionaries like Bhaiyaji and others. The core group among others of Team Anna was now Baba Ramdev, Anna, Kejriwal, Bhushans and Kiran Bedi. Then the ones behind the scene which has not been revealed as yet were Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sanathan Sanstha (same reportedly right wing extremist outfit) and Medha Patkar. These all were led by the India Against Corruption the so-called NGO outfit. So while, the public has been believing that all the dhobis, cobblers, domestic help, Dabbawalas, celebrities came on their own to pledge support, sorry it was conspired, planned efficiently (that I give it to them) and strategically.

It wasn’t easy for the RSS to convince within their own party and moreover the BJP to allow Anna to lead this ‘andolan.’ Gadkari for one DESPISES Anna. He doesn’t mince words and can be horribly nasty calling him names. However convinced with the whole plan, strategy and yet last minute backing out feeling, Gadkari extended his support. This was a do-or-die situation for the BJP. They would never get such a golden opportunity as they envisaged it. Meanwhile the Civil Society lobby had begun contacting their target audiences. Which ranged from Corporates, Sec-A society, celebs, other deprived sections, convincing them how this ‘Gandhian’ way to topple the MOST corrupt government would be within their grasp. Once assured, the plan began unfolding.

Now mind you, the key word to convince all these sections which took precisely two-years of planning was ‘Gandhian,’ and that was what Patkar had told the civil society lobby. Anna was the modern face of Gandhian thought. That something as simple as this man supported public flogging would never come across people’s minds was part of the branding and positioning done by the creative persons (who are very close to RSS) and RSS brains who knew how to promote Anna.

There began the famous Jantar-Mantar andolan. The biggest high that RSS-BJP may have ever experienced in their lives and the biggest that will never again be seen by the civil society movement. The whole of Team Anna, IAC, NGO movement, opposition was one. The big mistake the Delhi-centric Congress did, they forgot there existed leaders from Maharashtra. Mind you the RSS-BJP feared it the most. They still chuckle behind closed doors, how idiotic the central leadership was IGNORING the late CM Vilasrao Deshmukh who was the only apart from Sharad Pawar who knew Anna and could convince him. Rest we know chronologically what happened.

Initially itself Anna according to the RSS official, “Had begun cozying upto Soniaji. He said he trusted her and then we decided it was enough.” The other point being Anna seemed pleased with the parliamentary committee appointed, which riled these RSS officials. They pointed out to Anna that Sharad Pawar was a member and instigated him against this appointment. RSS leaders convinced Anna to go on a fast-unto-death. Mind you they could convinced this man because for some odd reason Anna had begun believing he could something for the nation.

What is not public is that some of RSS people very close to Anna were constantly in touch with him. On two occasions the RSS officials say they noted Team Anna had faltered. Firstly, when Anna himself covered up noticing the mistake. While on second,  the RSS made a mental note, which was to cost Anna his credibility in future. Now this is where Team Anna forgot that the push and support was coming from RSS and should have respected it. On first occasion,  Team Anna did NOT allow RSS and BJP leaders to share the stage. One among them was Gopinath Munde. A formidable leader and definite crowd puller for the OBCs. Later Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan bulldozed Anna. They time and again distanced themselves from the RSS and kept ensuring Anna distanced himself from RSS-BJP. Point was noted in RED. 

The first time RSS official learnt Vilasrao was being sent by the UPA govt, they called Anna and convinced him to not give-in. They asked him to stretch his fast, while he waited, they also called Vilasrao and informed him that Anna wasn’t ready and he shouldn’t go. Vilasrao was terribly upset with both. According to a RSS official, “He was geuinely concerned of Anna’s health.” In fact during that period I was in touch with Vilasrao who one late night lamented about the way this whole issue was dealt by the UPA govt. He even told me, “I don’t know what they have in mind.” When I asked him why weren’t leaders like him, Pawar being consulted, “They have bigger leaders to guide them,” and laughed in his usual style.

Things had begun getting too risky. For once RSS officials got concerned because they too realised Anna’s health had deteriorated. “I’m honestly telling you, his condition had become precarious,” RSS source told me. That was when he personally called Vilasrao and asked him to step in. “I give it to that man, not once was he egoistic, he genuinely was concerned for the man’s health.”

Post Jantar-Mantar time had come for further planning. And with Kejriwal and Bhushan litereally remote-controlling Anna, the RSS-BJP decided to keep complete low-profile and watch their plans. By then at the national level new developments were taking place. President Pranabda was sworn in. He set up a panel, Arun Jaitley was asked to write the draft so the BJP leaders began taking it easy on the public protest front. They were watching Team Anna, which they realised sooner than Anna himself, that there’d be in-fighting. To add to their decision making was the fact that Anna himself was flip-flopping.

RSS-BJP leaders felt, post-Jantar Mantar success, it was time to build on it and move forward and with the many ideas. To again sit on a fast was not a good idea. That would show lack of programme and goal. Team Anna had other ideas and there began Anna’s problems. He placed extreme trust in Kejriwal and Bhushan, who the RSS accuses of hijacking the whole andolan. RSS officials realised it was time to send a STRONG message. They withdrew all support. “Ya Kejriwal ne single handedly sagla nuksan kela, je kahi amhala milala hota.” “This Kejriwal has single-handedly ruined everything that we gained.” So in Dec 2011 at BKC, one did NOT see crowds like during the first morcha. RSS and all the outfits which had previously supported Anna backed out. As a result one did not see the ‘spontaneous’ (sarcasm intended) crowds. This marked the end of an Andolan and Anna’s credibility.

“The 2 people who are dangerous and Anna needs to be wary of are Prashant Bhushan and Kejriwal,” said this RSS man. It is evident too with the way things unfolded. Kejriwal became a spoiler for the same RSS-BJP. “Yes, he began targeting our own leaders. We were aware what he is capable so we had backed out in time. We believe he is a Congress man.” The RSS strongly feels Kejriwal is a mole planted by the Congress, while Congress too interestingly believes Kejriwal’s a BJP man! As for Kiran Bedi, the RSS is upfront that they will support her. “She is pushy, but manageable. We have told her she can choose any constituency anywhere in the country and we will support her, even if she doesn’t contest on our ticket.” So Bedi’s future is ensured.

As for General VK Singh, the RSS-BJP is clear he is a ‘deranged’ man as one called him. They feel he crossed the line. “Don’t forget Neeta what we did to Admiral Bhagwat. And we then don’t see if anyone is a Brahmin or not. He had no right to take on our govt. It is a shame what VK Singh spoke about democracy and governance at that event in Mumbai. How did the UPA let him stay? They should’ve sacked him.” This is the RSS-BJP’s strong view. They say, “Wait, VK Singh wants to enter Rajya Sabha. Oh! he won’t contest elections, votes kon deil tyana?”

The many conversations I’ve had with some RSS officials I suspected who master-minded the andolan have made only helped proved my suspicions right. They are clear what their agenda was and were aware of the shortcomings. RSS is upfront about one thing, “This wasn’t spontaneous. It was extremely well-planned. But the public was agianst the govt.” So in case those who are reading this had participated in the Andolan for a modern-Gandhi, with ideals, who was non-political, think again…how easily one’s emotions can be used, but I accept how well they had planned at every level. This can be a management lesson. From grass-root to national level, individuals, corporates, every section of society, media, civil society and politicians. Except the Maharashtra’s Marathi newspapers and channels, (leave aside IBN Lokmat) who knew all along that at the end it would be a fight for credibility. Which was proven at BKC . An andolan that stands disbanded today and may never find that high it got with able support from RSS-BJP. 

A fast broken

  On December 27, 2011, yours truly asked a question that angered Anna Hazare to walk off the stage at MMRDA in Mumbai. It’s taken me a year to write what really happened.. i’d been mulling, because i didn’t really want to rub it in that ‘I’ was responsible in packing him off.  However, i do think it needs to be etched in my time and documented for sure!

Actually, the day began on rather political a note. Apart from the usual newsroom politics, a lot was happening in Mumbai and inside the Parliament. It was the second day since the media-hero, flogging-loving man, who the nation enjoys flirting with, portrayed as modern-day Mahatma (how I despise this), Anna, had begun his Bombay rally.

It was another fast, again proclaimed unto death. This time the scenario was DIFFERENT. People blamed the venue for lack of support. No, Mumbai is a city that tests a person’s true worth. “A hired crowd doesn’t maketh a movement,” are my words. It is NOT misplaced or personal allegation. Even the first time it was NO spontaneity that inspired Dabbawalas, cobblers, domestic workers and all who’d come to Azad Maidan during the Ramlila protests. They were ‘brought’ everyday as part of an organised strategy. It worked then.

Meanwhile, a lot happened in the interim, between August and December 2011. The venue (MMRDA grounds) apart, the organisation IAC, itself went through trouble. While agitating against govt, there was immense internal disturbance. Moreover public dismay- Most of the demands made by Anna Hazare were met by the UPA2. Govt agreed for a special session on Lokpal Bill, they persuaded Anna to NOT hold his fast, the reason for this fast was not declared, the oft-repeated Lokpal  else….well people had work to do, a v important fact forgotten by the organisers.

More worrisome was that Team Anna faced immense leadership problems.The stories of Mayank Gandhi, allegedly connected to a builder, began circulating. I went across, spoke to an old time developer who went on record to say their group had donated large amounts of money to IAC and given them office premisesnews reports in regional languages appeared more than English, again the bias was evident.

Within their group two major factions began developing. Mayank Gandhi group and Bhavesh Patel group. Earlier Bhavesh would go, network with public, different associations and unions of workers, media. He is considered a good organiser, besides v reliable for Anna. There again, another activist went on record to accuse Bhavesh of corruption. Anna trusted his lieutenants a lot, to the extent, many a follower and villagers, told me in Ralegan Siddhi that they began to believe Anna had become arrogant and had fallen prey to these greedy hawks. “Zara thamba madam, thodyach mahinyat sagla baher padel,” (Wait for few months, everything will spill out), the villagers had told me.

By then I’d made few trips to Ralegan Siddhi, had a few run-ins with his PA-cum-man Fridy Suresh Pathare. What do I say that can describe him? A village lad, tapped well by the mentor, did EVERYTHING for him, took brickbats, few hits, gave few too…suddenly this village lad was being pursued by the who’s who and became the mover and shaker for media. He was seen as a ‘setter’ in the village, reportedly. While the villagers mutely watched the drama unfold. (He has parted ways with Anna. According to the village grapevine, his own doing). None of this was a surprise.

Come December, at the last minute organisers began hunting for venues. MMRDA-which mind you is an exhibition venue, that too at BKC where people go to work out of compulsion, was zeroed upon. Most media had been totally besotted by Anna by then, so not surprisingly, conveniently forgot the Bombay HC rules for organising protests. At Azad Maidan, you can protest only from 10am-6pm. Suddenly Indians who had begun fantasizing about the concept of ‘revolution’ and Anna’s staunch supporters refused to use logic. The organisers screamed ‘conspiracy’ for being denied permission to hold protests.

In all this, Mayank Gandhi’s trust, which was unregistered till then, applied for the permission to hold a fast unto (limited period)…oh yes, in addition, they asked for a tax rebate! At a time when the organisers, Anna and other leaders accused the govt of being cruel, their own breach of rule caught them on a wrong foot. An ugly oversight, or deliberate evasion of rules, they screamed as political conspiracy. Finally some Anna’s friends and other members booked MMRDA grounds in the name of another legal trust.

I reiterate, “a hired crowd don’t maketh a revolution.” Come December 27, on the first day the stage which was 30 feet high, 100 feet away from the crowds, with couch, beddings and his followers were ready for the modern ‘Gandhi’ to do a namaste and start his speech. Initially only handful followers, mostly comprised of IAC members, IAC PR and Anna’s hard core followers were the audience on the grounds. It was blamed on a working day and all were promised, “big crowds expected soon.” Then the Bharat Nagar slum residents too were asked to be present everyday, free food was bonus. So while they made a token appearance on the first morning, thereafter it was free food and playing games for them. There began the end of a media-madeIndia’s crowd puller, oh sorry, a movement.

The description I’ve given of the venue and the stage is NO exaggeration. NO public movement can be ever so disconnected from the very public that is wanting by the organisers. The division in leadership and whatever said and done, the complete lack of vision on part of Anna was evident. They failed to capitalise on public anger and this spelt doom for Anna. He took it badly, as he couldn’t get over the fact that he was ‘rejected.’ He was a repeat, day in and day out.

Second day morning, Anna looked depressed. He couldn’t digest the fact that he was being rejected. Sadly, he’s  been manipulated and used maximally by others/aides even today. It seemed that they may have fed him a lot of false assurances. It came to such a stage, that by afternoon the organisers began sounding delusional. Blaming the state govt for jamming networks, when one service provider admitted in their release they were facing network problems due to technical failure. Moreover, the organisers sent volunteers forcing public to board buses to attend Anna’s fast. This spoilt their whole show as the word spread wildly. Meanwhile, we were told, Anna would hold a press conference. So while most rteporters scrambled rushing to the stage, i sat in our channel tent.

Believe me I was bored. The reporters were dime a dozen, who’d come from Delhi clamouring to ask ‘Anna’ questions…. So I rightly left the press conference coverage to the Delhi colleagues from our channel (ours outnumbered others). Suddenly something spurred me as I heard the oft-repeated accusations, statements and the speech. They were as old as my career. I had to push myself to the stage, where I stood there with my colleagues. A Hindi channel meanwhile tried to turn it into their channel conference, which angered others…my colleagues and other Delhi senior journos asked few questions. Something spurred me to ask a question. I had to grab the mike and introduce myself.  I taunted Anna. “Anna kal raat sansad mein apko Bhajpa ne dhoka diya aur isliye apki Mumbai mein ranneeti ghalat ho gayi, kya sahi hai?”

Now Anna is hard of hearing. Depending on his mood he wears his hearing aide. He asked me to repeat the question, which Arvind kejriwal said aloud. I meanwhile teased him, “toh kya yeh sahi hai na, BJP ne apko dhoka diya, Apki ranneeti ghalat hui na?” It hackled him, Anna got up and for the first time he went on record to expose his ideology. He said, “Cong paksh ek dhokadari paksh hai, hum Cong ke khilaf hai, Cong ek gaddar paksh hai.” And to everybody’s shock, Anna walked off the stage. I went on to say, “arre Anna, arre woh gaye..” yes, the fact is Anna was angry and he walked off. The question broke his resolve, his Mumbai fast and eventually impacted his movement too. Many veteran political reporters, right-wing fanatics and Anna-lovers blamed me for being pro-Congress. Sorry to disappoint everyone. I’m fucking loyal to my profession –Journalism. I’m paid to ask questions and i do a bloody good job. NOBODY prompted me to ask this question… Anna finally blurted out the truth and the aim of his movement, which all wanted to know…

I’ve NOTHING personal against Anna or his movement. Last October I’d broken the story with visual evidence of Baba Ramdev meeting RSS top brass on behalf of Anna. The BJP had gone on record time and again for supporting Anna and NOT denying he was leading their anti-govt movement. Except Anna, all had admitted of being pushed by RSS. This was the reason I wanted the truth to be exposed. Nobody can play around with public. Point is, this movement was as good as the politicians, against whom Anna and group had been agitating. While the govt has behaved like an ass, not to care about the public, inability to tackle inflation, rising social problems, so did Anna. To lie to public and yet get to enjoy a halo of being a leader was waiting to get exposed. This all wasn’t about eradicating corruption, it wasn’t about eventually how to deal with a problem that has escalated to cut-backs or lethargy in work, it was all about the BJP projecting him to pass the Jan LokPal bill and being the face for RSS. Also, him being anti-Congress! And this isn’t a political conspiracy?

After that, I was forced to go to Anna’s village. The next morning, the villagers who had told me, ‘wait everything will spill out,” continued to watch mutely. Nobody was there  to greet Anna, not even the world-famous Sarpanch.  And this is the reality…

Anna’s downfall

December 29 will be etched in my memory & that of Bombay’s history. The evening when yours truly asked Anna Hazare the question, “Anna aap ko lagta hai ki BJP ne aapko kal sansad mein dhoka diya aur iski vajah se aapki ran niti ghalat hui?” The office driver Tiwari told me, “Mein lifetime woh din nahi bhulunga. Ab dheere dheere public jaan rahi hai yeh Anna ko BJP ka samarthan mil raha hai..bahut achcha sawal kiya apne, arey uska pack up hua…” He had heard, but turned to Kejriwal. I repeated the question by actually taunting him.. “Diya na dhoka, kal raat BJP ne, sansad mein…ghalat hui na apki ran niti…” Anna & Kejriwal had a small discussion. Infuriated Anna came out in public about his political agenda, “Dhokadari paksh Cong hai, Cong ne gaddari ki hai aur hum Cong ke khilaf hai…hum dusrey paksh ke khilaf nahi hai”…excellent, the one point I strongly believed in but had NO evidence to prove it to the world. The man, Anna Hazare himself had spoken these words, got miffed & walked off the stage. Over, for Anna, the press conference was over. Upset with me & the rest of the media, as a result.

But the fact is that the truth was out in the open. A whole new drama of Anna being declared unfit had already been played out the previous night. By then, Mumbai’s journalist fraternity had begun hearing whispers of the health conspiracy. We were ‘informed’ Anna may be shifted to a hospital on the first night he wasn’t. The crowds at the most were at 7000, despite many claims. By then all conspiracy theories were put forward by the Team Anna – Mumbai is sitting with their hands clasped, wearing bangles. The police & govt have ensured that networks of all their cell phones get jammed. That the Airtel tower at Malad had caught fire wasn’t even spoken about nor was that seen as a real cause. Also, while except for Anna & VIPs all the rest of public, including us media were forced to make several diversions. It was for security. But the Anna’s team insisted this was being done deliberately to harass them. They also came up with an innovative idea of taking buses to all stations, “Get people to sit in these buses & bring them to MMRDA. How can Mumbai sit quiet.” It then became one whole ego trip. Something that has simply led to the down fall of a so-called ‘doosri azadi’ second freedom movement…sure..

Yet again Anna’s fast attracted attention of media & politicians from across the country. Dec 27th was the D-Day. Anna was to come to Mumbai and then begin his fast for three days, would have been indefinite had the Parliamentarians not tabled their Lokpal Bill. Now by the time the Parliament had begun it was evident that the Govt was table it, a few days before Anna Hazare went on his fast it was clear the Parliament was extended for 3 days & the discussions, debates et al was to take place ONLY on Lokpal Bill.

Yet Anna went ahead with the fast. A lot had happened in the interim period. A huge drama unfolded over the venue. Firstly it was kept a huge secret whether it would be Delhi, Mumbai and if any of the two then the specific venues. The so-called ‘Gandhian’ (please it’s time people stopped abusing this term) was dissuaded from going to Delhi. Why? Because of the extreme cold Mind you, the late Mahatma Gandhi wore only a hand spun dhoti, NOT laundered with sparkling white, or ironed or starched. He did NOT wear sadra or shirt…he also did NOT fast to extort or even short change himself. Here were given to understand that Anna would not be able to tolerate the cold weather and hence he was requested to sit on a fast in Mumbai.

A completely wrong decision. I actually welcomed it, I remember tweeting about this & also faced the wrath of his followers who abused me. Simple reason, because the first time round there was a lot happening…while it was evident that there was a growing angst among the citizens, rising prices, inflation, more & more news of corruption & scams, the govt seemed taken aback. The stupid mistakes made by the esteemed Home Minister P Chidambaram who nearly made a hero out of a delusional man, the mood was anti-govt.

However in December 2011, the story was different. The Parliament promised, extended the winter session & publicly committed to discussing & debating about JLP Bill. Secondly, Mumbai’s first time venue was ideal. Azad Maidan was perfect, bang opposite the Victoria Terminus it is excellent for commuters. A huge floating population every hour is ensured. Curiosity was immense hence a lot of people came & went. Plenty of Colleges are nearby, as a result the whole buzz about Anna proved effective. Even those commuters who travel fromChurchgate,VTis only 15 minutes walking distance. Most importantly, the timing for the protests was very good. Between 10.00am-6.00pm, as a result the planners of the campaign could bring people in hordes every hour.

Another important development had taken place in the interim period. While the first time was successful, with immense backing from RSS, it wasn’t proved till October. Fresh evidence began coming out about RSS backing, Mohan Bhagwat, the RSS chief went on record to confirm, Nitin Gadkari the BJP national president supported Bhagwat’s claim. Moreover when we speak of corruption, etc Team Anna’s members began getting exposed. It was finally evident to the general public they too weren’t above board. Involvement of Kiran Bedi in fudging travel re-imbursement claims from NGOs, she defending it was worse, her daughter using OBC certificate for getting admission for medical seat in Manipal college, Kejriwal’s IT fines & non-payments. Even Anna’s former colleagues & friends who alleged the man wasn’t above board. Justice PB Sawant’s report still holds true, he said as regards the accounts & audit, Anna wasn’t given a clean chit. Team Anna also seemed strongly upset with govt’s inclusion of NGOs in the gambit of Lokpal Bill. A sore point with the members of Anna’s team. All of them are connected with some NGO or have their own. Some are facing some allegation or the other. In the interim period news began trickling that Ashoka Foundation had reportedly provided lakhs of funds to Team Anna for various RTIs. As part of their project. News of Ford Foundation supporting the Ramlila ground fast too had appeared.

Everything just came to surface at the same time. Meanwhile the Team Anna & the their outfit in Mumbai the India Against Corruption applied for MMRDA grounds. Now while they claimed to be the organisers, they applied in the name of some other NGO, on their letter head. When the MMRDA made inquiries & asked for clarifications, it came to light that IAC wasn’t even registered. Now this is the same outfit that collected lakhs of rupees from general public in the name of ‘anti-corruption’ but mind you had not even bothered to register itself. This amounts to grave charges against the members – this actually amounts to criminal offence. Yet, they shamelessly asked for discount and when they were refused they tried applying to many other grounds as their venue.

In this whole period the fights between Team Anna erupted here in Mumbai. The Bhrashtachar Virodhi Andolan convenor Bhavesh Patel began to get side-lined by IAC head Mayank Gandhi. Now Mayank is the son of scion of Lok Group, a builder. Sure, most will shrug & say if he is clean then why not. He is being given an office in south Mumbai Dosti Group-another leading builder of Mumbai- in his own complex. The founder of Dosti group told me on-camera “I give full support to Anna, with tan, man dhan…my heart, soul & money…” he went on to tell me that Team Anna has a lot of money and they are comfortable yet he would like to contribute. All claim to be ‘Gandhians.’ Gandhi’s story is something they need to learn.

Patel had got so frustrated with Mayank that at one time he told me that Mayank had actually planned to book a ground in the name of ‘shaadi’ for wedding & then make Anna sit for three days. Here a Mayank tells Anna what to do, in the case of Gandhiji, the famous GD Birla sat at Gandhiji’s feet.

The reason of their conflict was as interesting to me as the conflict itself. It clearly meant the cracks had deepened & that too at the mouth of the impending fast. Ooh lala…I was expecting disaster. As expected IAC went on to making denial for discount an emotional issue. However neither Mayank nor other IAC members had come out honestly to the public confessing that they weren’t a registered outfit. They really under-estimated the judiciary of this land & filed a petition.

The Bombay High Court wrapped Team Anna strongly. Much needed too. They were put in their place rightfully so. The distortions and les were brought to light, including the fact that IAC wasn’t registered. The HC asked what’s become of this money and how can people trust such an organisation. They were rightfully denied right to get discount and book MMRDA in the name of IAC. That is the first time Anna spoke & said it was a wrong move to approach the courts. Not at all shocking from a man who has zero regard for the Constitution of India or the judiciary. This wasn’t the end. The whole fast was managed like a PR event. All the PR persons, name them, Poonawala’s sons, (yes the Derby stud man), many who we’ve seen ‘managing’ events. Anna’s stage was way beyond common person’s reach. Then a no-man’s zone for security, then us, the media with our back sides to the audience, which was totally cut off from Anna. Public isn’t dumb, they can be naïve, and a people’s movement is based on people…here there as a HUGE disconnect. The people were completely ‘kept away.’

The choice of MMRDA too was a error of judgement. Ask around and no sane, practical Mumbaikar will bother going to MMRDA. More so anyone without a vehicle will just not venture into this lonely area where govt offices are there and only rock shows which the rich can afford. This is the popular perception of MMRDA. So was this. The flag seller who made lakhs in August during the Ramlila fast, was broke by the end of the first day. “Very shocking” was what he barely managed to tell. The RSS backed organisation that provided catering services noticed that even despite the Bharatnagar Slum dwellers coming and eating free food for 3 days, they still had sufficient amount of food. Something had gone amiss somewhere.

Anna was moved out under pretext of ill-health. He was taken to Ralegan Siddhi. I had reached hours before him, let me tell you, nobody from his village was excited. This was al waiting to happen. The Sarpanch was absent and so were the otherwise naïve villagers who would call on him. This was a Anna’s solo-journey of a setback & lack of people support. The lies continued. While he was unwell, Anna suffered a major mental set-back. I strongly believe he is taken by the whole idea of ‘sacrifice’ and becoming martyr. However reality taught a lesson. After many days Anna on new year was moved to Sancheti’s Hospital, Pune. It is a hospice for recovering from bone & joints surgeries, accidents. While Anna suffered from so-called lung infection. He was moved to this hospital. On top of that the dr, Sancheti is reported to have said, “Anna shouldn’t be fasting and to recover he needs to go to some unknown destination.” Now I’m not a medical doctor, but sure am aware that there is no scientific basis to such claims.

However few things got further exposed. In the press conference, Anna made strong anti-women’s comments. He said that women who don’t bear children, will never be sensitive to the experience of a delivery like child-bearing women. A completely ridiculous allegation. He should be flogged in the same manner that he believes those who drink alcohol should be. Anna retracted on every threat he had made-sitting on fast in Delhi, surrounding Parliamentarians, campaigning in the 5 states for elections & the famous ‘jail bharo.’ His ridiculously oft-repeated speech that one gets free food in jail, so all should got to jail. That this is the way to fight corruption, many a stupid citizen got carried away. To go to jail one has to have criminal offence & it’s a shame if anyone is proud of that. Else one only gets detained and that’s really what happens in such cases. In the former, your whole life changes, and swear you’re life is f@#$%^d if you have criminal charges on your name.

Anna is self-proclaimed Gandhian, someone who has never believed in non-violence, he has made public this ugly side. Flogging those who drink, defending the slap that a man gave Sharad Pawar, saying ‘why only one.’ Just last night, Anna defended those who resort to violence for running out patience fighting against corruption, they all expose Anna’s dark & is that the real side? There is no excuse for use of violence, when all along the drama and lies of non-violence was what drove this campaign. Slowly his true self is getting exposed in public. I shudder that time will come when people will start looking through his talks and fake ideology.

A fascist propaganda

My rational friend and I were speaking on this Anna campaign and why it is a fascist trend, ably aided by electronic media. He had a valid point. The Army chief spoke publicly on civil society & governance while in uniform. First time ever in 65 years. It does perplex me that no media or politician raised an alarm. Especially someone like Laloo, Sharad Yadav & Paswan who has a  better sense about these things than other ‘educated’ MPs, civil society or other citizens. I’m surprised that they have not understood the ramifications of his statement or they just ignored it, either way a huge mistake.

We are a democracy and it is sad that we haven’t understood it. Nor do we respect it. The role of the military according to the Constitution of India is to defend, secure & attack in defence.  If the chief of this force passes remarks on the political scenario, it is undemocratic & unconstitutional. The Army chief’s dabbling in internal politics is not something that should be taken lightly. The Army chief has absolutely no business to interfere in the political functioning, considering so much is happening within the army. Instead Gen V K Singh should check infiltration, boost morale of the army & let me remind you, of primary importance – STOP the army excesses in Kashmir and the North East.

Speaking of Gen Singh, he has 2 dates of birth. Though he had given in writing 1950 as the year & then the politics that followed. Then he appeases MPs, ministers & now calls them corrupt. other army officials have taken over plots, made excesses on existing land & behaved in very ‘Adarsh’ style. Gen Singh needs to clean up his backyard before talking about politics or governance. As for the excesses & human rights violations, your claims are a mockery. The people are currently on a high, carried away by the whole Ramayan that unfolded on Ramlila grounds. Very selectively public at large is focussing on issues independently & this unreported event has been ignored.

The RSS & its various branches have aided this whole movement, something that Ashok Singhal publicly admitted to.  Two months ago I broke the news with CD evidence of the famous meeting b/w Ramdev Baba, leading RSS dignitaries in Nagpur, in March planning for this campaign. World over, corruption as a broad issue, has been highlighted by the fascists who want to capitalise on unstable or on the downward economic trend. Take for example, Hitler, before he came to power, the centrists & communists were ruling; If you notice he had also raised the issues of corruption, demanding accountability & linking it to socialism. Such aren’t bothered about killings or excesses by those in uniform. It was only with the rise of Communists, that Hitler was compelled to include socialism in his agenda. He had demanded transparency, effective governance, eradication of corruption.  He won & the minute he came to power he dissolved the very existing structures.  I strongly believe same is with the VK Singh.

Meanwhile the economy also has not been looking up. The inflation figs have touched double digit & GDP levels fluctuated hitting a low, which is not a good sign. Hence the public anger mounted against inflation, ministers involved in scams & an apparent indifferent govt.  This time the April campaign of Anna took place. The Delhi media had just begun the romance & few jittery Congressmen began flirting with Anna & in this chaos comes along a Gen who too brazenly displays his affection for civil society agitation, Anna & the pro-governance lobby. It was a private event, organised by former leading journalists & VK Singh was appreciated for his frank speech. When in uniform, an army chief displays his political ideology i doubt the patriotism such proudly claim. How was he not questioned by the govt? Once in uniform, anything private too is public, that’s the norm. His open favouring certain school of thought also is scary for the govt. wc needs to distrust him.

However, when everything is seen in isolation the larger pic is missed & that’s not being naïve. For people to be ill-informed, isn’t a good sign at all. I believe & have learnt that everything that happens is LINKED & is no coincidence. In the interim 2 leading contracts were NOT given to USA. Despite the fact that the Indian PM, Manmohan Singh’s proximity to Prez Obama & Prez’s official visit to India, US didn’t get these 2 contracts. Since last 4 years US economy is in trillions of $ of losses. These contracts would have made all the difference to them. This wasn’t going unnoticed. Meanwhile reports across the world were -India is the next superpower, India is the next destination & Prez Obama was hoping we help them raise jobs for their citizens. The 2 contracts are – Jaitapur nuclear power project is given to Areva Evolutionary Pressurised Reactors, a French company. This is worth $ 1lac crore, Second was US losing the CEIP’s Tellis offer, a fighter jet contract, which went to EADS’ Eurofighter, this is $2.5 lac crore. This means innumerable potential job loss to USA-while they considered these a hope for the revival of their economy. Worth noting is leading funding agencies of US are working in India & giving aid to civil society activists & many a govt project – World Bank, Ford Foundation, other leading agencies. The fact that 1000s of Civil Society individuals & organisations are getting funds fm US in India, is an open secret. While there are also European funding agencies which is a formidable lobby. So, there are 2 lobbies aided by various ideological funding agencies & backed by strong countries.

While on one hand, there is World Bank & allied American funding agencies like Ford Foundation, they give aid to one section-Anna team, on the other, leading European funding agencies (Netherlands, Norway, Scandanavian countries) are aiding another front of activists –Aruna Roy, etc.  The 2 have varying ideals, methodologies & never the twain shall meet. The JLP bill pushed by Kejriwal, Kiran & Anna, is more right wing. rignally this bill was moved by BJP. It speaks of dissolution of all democratic, constitutional structures & systems. The signs are clear, all his actions are political when in uniform and anti-govt.

More facts & evidences will come out in few months. Imagine, then the Gen speaking in favour of these people & their work, it is scary. The thought fascist and actions that can’t are political, all of which contrary to their duty.