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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Is Anna Hazare fatigue creeping in?

Bengaluru's date with Gandhian Anna Hazare on Saturday, was a letdown. Not just for the city which heard no ringing endorsement of the campaign to 'Save Lokayukta', that the organizers had made their USP, but for Anna too, whose caustic comment on the all but empty Freedom Park was a sign of the times. Instead of the 50,000 and more who converged on the park when Anna was not even physically present at previous campaigns, the crowd thinned to 20,000. Even that number may be an overstatement. Is Anna fatigue setting in, asks Team DC.

There were 20,000 people at Freedom Park on Saturday to hear Anna speak, disappointing the organisers of the rally who had made arrangements for a crowd of 50,000 to 75,000.

The agenda of saving the Lokayukta's institution in the state, which was expected to sound a chord with the people, did not succeed either in bringing them out of their homes in large number to crusade alongside the Gandhian. So are we as Bengalureans losing enthusiasm for the anti-corruption movement? Or has the movement lost its momentum?

Team Anna did not help raise public enthusiasm either by its lack of focus on the issue of Karnataka's Lokayukta languishing for four months without a head during the rally that was supposed to campaign for the institution's survival.

The fact that this local institution for fighting corruption is under threat at a time when the battle for the Jan Lokpal Bill is underway was not very clearly established by those participating in it. Besides former Karnataka Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hedge, who accompanied Anna Hazare to Freedom Park for the rally, few others on Team Anna bothered to refer to it.

The only other significant reference was from freedom fighter HS Doreswamy , who deplored the state’s politics and appreciated the Lokayukta’s efforts in ridding it of the corrupt. Anna himself confined his talk to Jan Lokpal after making what appeared to be token appreciation of the people of Karnataka for honouring Justice Hegde. Other members of the IAC core committee like Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisidia and Dinesh Vaghela, chose to focus on Jan Lokpal.

As if to make up for the deafening silence on what was supposed to be the them of the rally, a pact was signed to suggest names of judges for the post of Lokayukta. But this can have hardly satisfied Bengalureans who were expecting a much more fiery attack on the state government for its not so strong support to the institution of the Lokayukta, which has brought illegal mining and land scams to light, besides a former Chief Minister to his knees.

People speak

* Some people might have slacked down a bit thinking the battle has already been won as the government has responded positively and there are all the chances of the Bill being passed soon. Moreover, people have realised that there is no moment of change; it is a continuous process - Ashwin Mahesh, IAC volunteer

* Saturday’s rally was not publicised adequately as it was arranged in a hurry. Also it is not easy to sustain any movement for this long, especially when young people are always stimulated by new things. Considering all this, 20,000 was a fairly good crowd - Mohandas Pai, Former Director Infosys

* This has been a long movement. There is certain fatigue setting in and the crowd is just reflective of it. Many were not aware that Anna’s visit was to help the fight to save the Lokayukta, which is a live local issue that people relate to - V Ravichandar,CEO of Feedback Business Consulting Services Pvt Ltd


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