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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Anna Hazare not Shiv Sena's 'right' man


At a time when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has made public its decision to support anti-corruption campaign the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has declared a war against social reformer Anna Hazare.

The BJP and Sena who are alliance partners find themselves at crossroads over Hazare.

The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has sent across a strong signal to its rank and file to come out in full support of the Hazare’s campaign against corruption.

He maintained that corruption which is deeply rooted in the system needs to be uprooted at any cost.

The RSS position has emboldened the BJP which plans to take political mileage riding high on the anti-corruption crusade.

However, it finds itself in a peculiar situation after Thackeray appears to have scaled the war against Hazare. What spared the ugly battle was Thackeray, 84 chiding Team Anna’s event management where variety of juices /food was being served to stream of visitors during the 12-day fast undertaken by Hazare at the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi. In a sharp rebuke Hazare on Friday said, “Thackeray should have restrained himself from making uncharitable remarks. But I guess it is the result of his old age.” Not one to overlook criticism, Thackeray warned Hazare, “Don’t get into enmity with us. And don’t get swayed by individuals with vested interests trying to provoke you against us.”

According to political observers, “The Sena versus Hazare could be the beginning of a long drawn battle.”

The developments which come ahead of senior BJP leader LK Advani’s rath yatra against corruption has left many wondering about the political ramifications on the Sena-BJP alliance. A senior Sena leader said, “Thackeray’s Dushera rally speech where he spoke about Hazare’s campaign has been distorted. Thackeray is not against the anti-corruption movement. What he criticised was the “tamasha” that was witnessed during the 12-day fast of Hazare with every corrupt individual wearing ‘I am Anna’ cap to hide his corruption.”

Sources in BJP said, “Advani’s rath yatra beginning from October 11 will go ahead.” The political managers believe RSS decision to support Hazare campaign will further help in image building of the BJP. Insiders indicated, “The RSS formal announcement has also dispelled the ambiguity regarding their political positioning on Hazare.”

Sources said, “In any case right wing organisations were being accused of providing the logistics to make Hazare’s campaign a success. Now, we are openly stating our support to the cause and simultaneously taking it forward through Advani’s rath yatra.”

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