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Friday, 19 August 2011

Anna campaign backed by RSS, industrial houses: Congress

NEW DELHI: Congress on Friday kept up its attack on the Anna Hazare campaign saying it had covert backing of the "communal" RSS as well as industrial houses.

Although the party had on Thursday retracted its charge that the US was behind the anti-government protest, it is standing by its charge about the "hidden hand" of RSS being at work.

Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "RSS and VHP may be behind the agitation, and BJP is looking to politically exploit the situation."

Party sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, were more forthright in blaming the RSS and allied outfits for the growing strength of Hazare's campaign. They alleged that Hazare was getting funds from BJP-ruled states, particularly Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and NRIs aligned with the Hindutva cause.

A senior party office-bearer said the absence of Muslims from the mobilization proved his point. "Why is that Muslims are missing from demonstrations," he asked.

Congress had levelled the charge of RSS infiltration also against Baba Ramdev, with senior government functionaries -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh downwards -- citing the threat of "communal disturbance" to justify the midnight police action against supporters of the yoga guru. The use of the same allegation against the Hazare campaign is significant.

Unlike Ramdev who was overtly aligned with senior figures of Sangh Parivar, the Hazare campaign has kept a safe distance from saffron forces. A deeply religious person himself, Hazare reversed his praise for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Although he uses imageries which are part of Hindutva lore, Hazare's supporters include those who have taken up cudgels against Modi and BJP as a whole.

Congress, however, maintains that RSS has been using the movement to further its agenda, the same way it exploited the JP movement in the 1970s. "Why is it that Hazare has not spoken against the fact that Modi government has not appointed a Lokayukta for seven years now," a Union minister asked. They feel the support for Hazare is not as spontaneous as they seem, and say that RSS has been the main choreographer.

What has strengthened the suspicion is the rising hostility among Hazare's supporters towards Congress supporters. Many of the slogans raised at the demonstrations against Hazare's arrest targeted the Congress, something that is at variance with the claim of the leaders of the group that they don't have any favourites among the political class. While this could be attributed to Congress being in power, party leaders are not convinced. They also point to the targeting of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at rallies over the past 48 hours to buttress their point.


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