Now is the time may be RSS-BJP need to really do some serious ‘chintan,’ introspection. How the whole Anna andolan at BKC, Mumbai 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 a huddle and couldn’t maximise the public outcry, post Delhi gang-rape, despite some RSS functionaries from Maharashtra telling the formidable ladies of BJP to joint the morcha.
The fact is, it was skewed right from the beginning. With warring snd dominating personalities like Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal, it is no surprise that Anna Hazare was sacrificed in this entire episode. The fact is Anna and his team could not replicate the success of Ramleela in Mumbai and the RSS made BJP dump Anna..
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. 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 the last dying fast, which attracted world’s media, Patkar it called off. As a result, the entire anti-Narmada dam movement was scrapped, impacting the credibility of activists, NGOs of the state & civil rights movement. The civil society in Maharashtra thereafter maintained a low-profile. Splintered and scattered, it took many other andolans for the activists to regroup themselves together as united force.
Among the many activists, one in Rallegaon Siddhi, (Ahmednagar dist), an uneducated but committed man made a difference using traditional watershed management methods, was Anna Hazare. He would go around giving talks, seminars. He also began 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 the 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.
This group tried and tested Anna, they made a formidable opposition and kept the Congress-led Mah. government on its toes. The Congress is experienced in ‘managing’ issues & people, realised it was easy to get around Anna than the other members. So Anna became the person they would deal with and would get him to negotiate on the issues he would raise and eventually ensure agitations were called off. Sharad Pawar & Vilasrao Deshmukh managed his stirs regularly This behaviour 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, impatient and public was pissed off with UPA for many problems–rising inflation, many cases of politicians misusing power for their benefit and that if their friends/families. The activists felt it was time to tackle this on a larger platform with a formidable outfit that can address their issues and eventually overthrow the govt. By then the RTI Act was implemented and pressure for implementing the Jan Lok Pal Bill was building. Initially Medha Patkar was in the forefront, but there was a problem of 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 opportunity 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.
Meanwhile, the RSS led NGOs had communicated the developments to their 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 Joshi and others at RSS headquarters in Nagpur. The core group among others of Team Anna was Baba Ramdev, Anna, Kejriwal, father-son 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 instigated and planned efficiently (that I give it to them) and strategically. Money is another issue however no paper trail to prove, there were specific cases of expenditure, sales of alkhs of caps, other stuff.
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 about that man, quite brutal. However the RSS convinced him of their strategy, but one last time Gadkari threatened to back out . He claimed he had strong feeling about Anna. But for the BJP, it was a do-or-die situation. They would never get such a golden opportunity as they had envisaged– an agry society wanting change, a so-called clean face and entire civil society united.
Meanwhile the Civil Society lobby had begun contacting their target audiences. Which ranged from Corporates, Sec-A society, celebs, on the other hand, the deprived sections, convincing them how this ‘Gandhian’ way to topple the MOST corrupt government would be within their grasp. Students and the clueless middle-class which fantasized bringing change . Once assured, the plan began unfolding.
Now mind you, the key word used 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 ideology. That this man supported public flogging was never a deterrent for this group for branding and positioning this man as New age Gandhi. (Shame on India to have insulted Gandhi. This Anna believes in physical beating). The creative team was very close to RSS and it was an entire gameplan of the RSS to promote this 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 Team Anna, IAC, NGO movement, opposition was one. The big mistake the Delhi-centric Congress made, they forgot their leaders from Maharashtra. Mind you the RSS-BJP feared it the most. They still chuckle behind closed doors, how idiotic the central leadership of Congress was IGNORING the late CM Vilasrao Deshmukh who was the only man, apart from Sharad Pawar who knew Anna and could manipulate him. Rest we know chronologically what happened.
In fact from the beginning, Anna according to a 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 which was appointed, by UPA govt. This riled the RSS officials. They pointed out to Anna that Sharad Pawar was a member of that and instigated him to reject it. Asked him not to call off the fast. Just see, the politics. RSS leaders convinced Anna to go on a fast-unto-death. Mind you they could easily convince this man, because for some odd reason, Anna had begun believing he could be the hero for this nation. (rolling eyes).
What is not public is that some RSS people, who were 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 covered up noticing the mistake. While on the second occasion, the RSS made a mental note. This was to cost Anna his credibility in the future. Obviously, after they were done using him. 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 dais. 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 oublicly, and kept ensuring Anna too distanced himself from the RSS-BJP. Point was noted in RED.
The first time the RSS official learnt Vilasrao was being sent by the UPA govt for negotiations, 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 RSS and Anna. 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 were left out, he said, “They have bigger leaders (in Delhi) 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,” said the RSS official to me.
Post Jantar-Mantar time had come for further planning. And with Kejriwal and Bhushan litereally remote-controlling Anna, the RSS-BJP decided to keep a 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 and Arun Jaitley was asked to write the draft for the Lokpal bill, so the BJP leaders began losing interest. They were watching Team Anna, which they realised sooner than Anna himself, that there’d be in-fighting. Moreover, Anna himself began flip-flopping.
RSS-BJP leaders felt, post-Jantar Mantar success, it was time to build on it and move forward and with the ideas they got from the public rather than make Anna an idol. To again sit on a fast was not a good idea. That would show lack of ideas and failure to have any goals.
Team Anna had other ideas and there began Anna’s problems. He placed extreme trust in Kejriwal and Prashant 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 any crowd, 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’ crowds. This marked the end of the second freedom movement (gosh this word) 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 sharp so we had backed out at the right time. We believe he is a Congress man.” Congress and most believe, which was true, Kejriwal was RSS mole. He became ambitious and wanted more.
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,” said the RSS man. It is a shame what VK Singh spoke about democracy and governance at that event in Mumbai when in uniform and still a general. How did the UPA let him.complete his term? They should’ve sacked him.” This is the RSS-BJP’s strong view.
The many conversations I’ve had with some RSS officials 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 against 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.
The fact is, it was well-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. In Maharashtra we all knew Anna was a fraud, but like this country, the media too is Delhi centric and they hijacked him. My point that he was a fraud, pro-BJP was proven at BKC, as he admitted to my question.
The fact is, an andolan stands disbanded today and may never find that high it got with able support from RSS-BJP.