Friday, August 3, 2012

Team Anna - The Genie's Back In The Bottle

On the evening of August 2 Team Anna (TA) decided to end their fast and confirmed their option of going political. So on prime time TV all the channels were discussing, debating, kicking and screaming over the decision, the nature and the contours of such a new political party. I have a very simple answer and willing to bet on this: There is going to be no TA political party of any kind. Period! Anna Hazare, the anti-corruption activist, never was and never will be a politician. Not because of some arithmetical outcome but because of his own choice. Throughout his life as an activist Anna has been confronting corruption, corrupt politicians or some social evil and that is the mission he has chosen for himself. This has been mostly as a lone ranger. I doubt he ever wanted a large national stage but yet he found himself in one. Perhaps this wasn’t of his own choice or making. The mystery remains over how he got into this JanLokpal (JLP) mess with a Rag, Tag and Bobtail outfit. Having gotten into it, pulling out was never easy even if one assumes it had crossed his mind sometimes. So whose movement was this really? Who were the real actors? And why were they doing this?

Like everyone else I was supportive of the fight against corruption and applauded TA’s efforts. In April 2011 after the govt blinked I wrote the post “Lokpal Bill: Why The Congress Blinked..”. The April 2011 round of fasts and agitation were followed by another huge one in August 2011 which appeared to be even more successful. But since August 2011 it has been downhill for TA. I had reasoned why in another post “TeamAnna-Goodwill Blunting”. Turns out the bloopers of TA go far beyond their media obsession. This is my final post on the saga of TA.

In a season of scams by the Congress-UPA govt any anti-corruption movement would naturally receive huge public support. Even Subramanian Swamy, who was almost in a political exile, came back to the mainstream with a flurry of court cases and was back in the limelight with a massive following. He is now part of the NDA. But we did have a very unlikely character launching an anti-corruption movement. In March 2010 Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru, launched Bharat Swabhiman. He called it a non-political movement against corruption and black-money. Er.. Totally unacceptable! Guy clad in saffron, strong Hindutva connections and a mass following threatens to take on the govt over corruption. He went on a yatra to many towns with his campaign. Before he got very far he was put down very savagely in June 2011 at Ram Lila by the govt. The media, of course, played their part in the mud-slinging against him as explained in this post. But even before the attack at Ramlila in June 2011 the Genie was popped out of the bottle. In comes Arvind Kejriwal (AK) to organise another anti-corruption movement demanding the JLP and the movement he decided would be headed by brand ‘Anna Hazare’.

Reports suggest Anna Hazare was not AK’s first brand choice. The pic shows a buzz in the Sunday Guardian (December 28, 2011) by Nora Chopra and explains how AK first approached former president APJ Abdul Kalam and then Infosys chief Narayana Murthy. Both seem to have declined. So the choice finally fell on Anna Hazare. The rest (and the unrest), as they tiredly say, is now history. AK wanted a JLP bill different from the one proposed by his former RTI campaign partner, Aruna Roy, through the NAC (Sonia Gandhi’s private club). Well, nobody cared if AK’s proposal was very different from Aruna Roy. But hey, he did offer more drama. Then the motley crew of Kiran Bedi, Manoj Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi and some more is assembled.  

So in April 2011 Anna Hazare goes on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to demand a Lokpal Bill. Govt holds talks with his team and agrees to a JLP. That’s when the term ‘TeamAnna’ (TA) was coined. The dais for the agitation was decked with symbols of national pride, patriotic songs were being sung, chants of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata. All very moving! All, except that picture of Bharat Mata as we know. That was communal. Then that Imam Bukhari called for muslims to boycott the movement as it doesn’t give voice for Muslims. Not done! So Kiran Bedi and co. rush to placate the mullah, in vain. Team Anna promised their movement was non-political, no politicians will be entertained, no communal forces would be allowed. Anna Hazare hardly bothered much as long as there was forward movement. Nothing to worry, corrections will be made in the next bout.

The straight-talking, honest Anna Hazare made a deadly mistake though. He praised Narendra Modi and Gujarat. That was that! The secular credentials of the movement were questioned and the world came down on him. Modi immediately even warned him of the consequences of praising him in a personal letter. TA must have advised Anna to make amends. So Anna visits Gujarat and screams “Ghotala hi Ghotala” and there was corruption everywhere in Gujarat; that there were rivers of alcohol and hooch flowing in Gujarat. Okay, credibility restored!

In between TA, particularly AK and Kiran Bedi, go on a media-spree mouthing shrill dialogues. They called every politician corrupt, called everyone against TA corrupt. The applause was deafening. This post will deliberately ignore allegations of tax evasion by AK, his Trust being funded by Ford Foundation, fudging and swindling through travel bills by Kiran Bedi and other financial allegations against TA. These are not really relevant in politics, are they? So the govt doesn’t make much progress and there’s another round of fasts in August 2011. This time it’s even bigger with campaigns in various parts of the country. Add to the drama the arrest and immediate release of Anna. Then there was Om Puri’s speech, KB’s Ghoongat dance. Heady cocktail! Of course, gone was the pic of Bharat Mata, now replaced by that of Mahatma Gandhi, all saffron guys were evicted. It was now truly secular. The govt eventually gives in and Anna’s fast ends. This time the juice comes from Dalit and Muslim kids. Secular TA was complete.

Then around October KB and TA come out strongly against the arrest of anti-Modi cop Sanjiv Bhatt. What exactly did TA have to do with the cop? Nothing! But well, more secular points scored. There are more foolish points to score. Carried away with the public adoration both, AK and AH, accept sham awards from NDTV and CNN-IBN. What do they call it… Umm.. Indian of the year awards! You should know you are finished when the media starts giving out awards that are deceptively political in nature. But why complain about more recognition? And in the end even the figment of victory ends in the parliament with the “Fleedom at Midnight” moment on December 29, 2011. The Congress had achieved what it wanted to and TA were left holding the baby… er.. I mean Anna Hazare.

So AK comes up with charge-sheets against 15 ministers, including the PM but excluding Sonia Gandhi. Of course, he had called MPs corrupt, murderers and rapists. A sweeping generalisation by a losing man! And so it came to July 2012 with AK himself leading the charge and going on a fast. He took the opportunity again to condemn Narendra Modi, calling him corrupt and a communalist. Let’s see, Modi has been called a lot of names but surely corrupt has hardly been one of them. Even Wikileaks revealed that a US Diplomat mentioned that Modi is “not only NOT corrupt, but incorruptible”. If AK wanted to score Congress points like a Teesta, Shabnam, Mallika, Sanjiv Bhatt, Harsh Mander or the entire media by abusing Modi, he was a bit too late for that. AK’s political ambitions, though not explicit, were slowly being revealed in bits and pieces by Anna himself.

So after 9 days of fasting in July-August and no end in sight, the stalemate was evident and visible to everyone. The Congress sat happily over the reality that TA had alienated not only their opponents and Congress but also BJP, their own supporters, the media and were left with indecisive crowds at JantarMantar. No way out! Suddenly, on August 2  a letter with 22 signatures pops up requesting TA to end the fast. How these 22 people got together, communicated with each other and how the letter was organised, written and signatures obtained (not in hand) is best left to imagination. But it was a handy exit. The other handy exit, as Congress pointed out, was to announce a full-fledged political party. This move, so that that TA could fight corruption from within the system and not without. Nothing wrong with that! When I hinted at such a happy-ending there were many who pounced on me.

Even the best laid plans can terribly go wrong. AK didn’t provide for that. In his political quest he alienated not just supporters but many of his own team members. This list of bloopers and blunders are too long but here are some lessons:

… In a movement like this the media was already paying enough attention. There was no need for AK or for TA or Anna to constantly be in the media and suck up to them with interviews, sound bites and turning panellists. TA was too naïve to see the media is a puppet there to destroy them. Never accept sham awards from the media.

… Never criticise anyone to merely score silly points. Narendra Modi was all praise for Anna and has never criticised TA or any of their members. Yet turning an anti-corruption movement to also one against Modi is a fatal mistake. TA simply had no idea how many Modi supporters had initially supported them.

… Never lose focus. If it was JLP why turn it into a demand for SIT against some ministers? Never abuse by generalisation like AK and TA did with all MPs and govt workers.

… Never antagonise and side-line your own team members in an individual quest for glory.

… Most of all, the JLP movement never had to be secular or communal. It wasn’t a pre-requisite. It should have been just open to all citizens. By constantly catering to muslims and minorities TA became another Congress party. They forgot that a huge majority of their supporters were actually anti-Congress and anti-Fake-Secularism. Stay away from unrelated cases and issues (like those of Sanjiv Bhatt). You end up being terribly stupid.

Didn’t the Bhagwad Gita say: “Now I am become death..”? TeamAnna, after calling politicians corrupt, murderers, rapists and everything else now want to become a political party. They want to become THEM. Frankly, nobody gives a damn about their political party. It was good fun for the media crooks on TV to discuss a Fourth Front right through the night on August 2. Team Anna must find solace in the fact that they haven’t been defeated or disgraced. They have definitely delivered a greater consciousness to fight corruption among the masses. But it is really too naïve to cloak a political agenda with mighty moral stands.

In the end nobody stunted TA, not the Congress, not the govt but their own team did. Though TA has stated they will seek a referendum from their supporters on forming a political alternative I don’t think that is going to happen. There is going to be no political party by TA, regardless of any silly referendum. I don’t think people were desperate for another political alternative. I cannot say who but I can definitely say there has to be one person or a group or an entity that popped the genie out of the bottle in early 2011. On August 2, 2012 the Genie went back into the bottle and will stay there for a long time


  1. In all of this mess, the one who gained was the media and the Congress party. As soon as they said we will provide political alternative, my hopes were shattered. If they form the party we know only Congress is gonna benefit from this and no other party. Hope ur predictions come true and they just stay inside the bottle and never come up again. Goodbye 'Team Anna'.

  2. I hope the movement withers on the vine. I don't trust revolutionary movements; they start to believe their own propaganda and slowly they succumb to corruption.

    If they do launch a party, I shall dub it the Ford Foundation Party.

    BTW, superb blog.

  3. Good-bye Team Anna. I regret spending time and energy supporting this movement for what it has turned into now.

    I will always have high respect for Anna Hazare himself. Poor person became scapegoat for his "Trusted" team members.

  4. sir, a simple correction..

    April 2011 round of fasts and agitation ware followed by another huge one in August 2011


    Rest! you know, i have stopped writing my own private blogs coz u voice better than unqualified me :)

    hope now, the herd mentality modern thinking guys understand the farce of these movements!! they dont know that modi is the only way for them to have non corrupt system not jan lokpal bill that would put india to the mercy of namesake activists!

  5. Brilliant, While I had my questions when you said what you said on your timeline, I just kept following "THE REAL BUNCH OF HONCHOS" in the hope that Corruption would be rooted out. TA's announcement that they will start a party killed my hopes. They will have do more than Kiss my backsides, if they ever think off it again.. Go and Rot in Hell TA.

  6. As excellent a recap as one could want. I do, however, think that some hotch potch political grouping will be arrived at. It will not take off for the same reason as TA. No proper planning or forward looking agenda but high on rhetoric.

    I also feel that the role of the Bhushan's, specially Prashant Bhushan, has been overlooked in your analysis. My feeling is that he is the silent operator who has been responsible for a lot of the irresponsible and ill thought out rhetoric that the team indulged in. While K may have been the prime mover and perhaps did most of the dirty work, I fail to understand Kiran Bedi's role.

  7. Discovered your blog only last month and I must say it is one of the best blogs that I follow regularly.
    And the best part is that even on subjects(which I think are emotionally and ideologically close to you) you dont resort to rhetoric without facts. May your tribe increase

  8. Superb as usual ! Hardhitting ,blunt and to the point ! And you did not pull your punches! You have made my day and ended Team Anna's ! Kudos !

  9. This is a good post. It is very sad that a honest man was "used" by some clever people. In the end, Team Anna took 2 steps forward but 3 steps backward in their fight against corruption. In the end, things have deteriorated with the "aam janata" becoming more dis-illusioned and more skeptical, infact cynical against people like Anna.

    Corruption in this country may not increase or decrease because of their efforts, but India and Indians have become a lot more wiser. That seems to be the only good thing in this sad episode.

  10. Dear Ravi,

    Very nicely put, as always.

    Though I dont have blogs or articles to prove, but I had said in my office cab sometime last year that Team Anna is falling into media trap when they had suddenly started coming on channels so frequently and on every topic.

    It was bound to happen. They became captive of their images created by Media. It was such a clear game plan. Started with too many one-to-one interviews of Anna after his August fast and then calling Team Anna to studios for panel discussions on every thing under the sun.

    In fact recently Ramdev had said on a TV interview that since BJP, RSS backed out, hence TA were not able to mobilize crowds.

    It was nice fun listening to TA's drawing room childish comments. Shazia was easy on the eyes.

    Bye Bye Team Anna.

  11. Ravinaar bhai!!! This article answers the question I asked you (honestly) a few days back on what you found wrong with Kejriwal... instead you went pouncing on me for "Geezing"!!!

    Anyway's, I continue reading you because much of you makes sense...

  12. Dumb article that cannot discriminate between intent and strategic lapses in a movement. The acts of Dalit/Muslim girl helping ending the fast may be for the masses. But there's nothing wrong with that. The average joe on the street is not intellectually sharp. They rely on symbols, signals to help build an image of a particular political party/movement. You may mock it. But its important the right messages go out, even if they are contrived.

  13. By the way, I thought your blog was about media. When you sermonize to others about this blog being media-specific, its interesting that this is your first blog where the media is only peripheral to the article while you have chosen to be critique a political outfit/movement. Why deviate here?

    1. @Hari .. That seems to be your second successive comment in outrage. Obviously, something seems to have upset you because of TA's nose-dive. Anyway, here are my answers to your questions:

      1. On symbols of Dalit/Muslim - I agree with you. You have clearly mentioned that these are used by POLITICAL outfits/movements. So there's no difference in that.

      2. The blog being about media does write about a lot of things which also have a media connection. TA were partly made and destroyed by media. If you read the other links provided in this post you will find there is no deviation.


    2. No outrage here. I love your blogs, in general. Except in this case, your blog falls in the same class of cynical journalism that I often watch on TV. I am getting tired of the pessimism that masquerades under the pretense of "journalists should be always skeptical". I didn't expect you to paint roses, but a more balanced perspective would be nicer. A lot of things are said and done in political rhetoric. That goes with the territory - you cannot dissect every rhetoric and interpret it in literal terms. When a speaker says say : All politicians are corrupt, it is designed to rouse public mood. The speaker dosen't believe it neither do most people. But its STILL important. Rhetoric is important to BOTH political and social movements. And this one is no different.

    3. Hari,
      You seem to be getting wrong here. If you read ravinar's article again. You will realize how Team Anna made mistakes with respect to handling the paid media. This is an example for other movements to keep the paid media out. The same reason why medha patkar quietly went out of Team Anna for the fear that all her other movements (good or not) would be painted with TA's muck.
      I think the brightest time of the movement was august last year and then there were all down hill for the movement. They made the mistakes that as a group shouldn't have done. We must also realize ,although I am great supporter of India against Corruption, that this movement was largely created by media and without much ground work cannot be sustained longer in public memory.The influence of Team Anna however will be fet in 2014 as parties like BJP who fear of split votes would atleast put up better candidates than now.

  14. Great Article anyways feeling decepted by Team Anna..Feeling sad for Anna who is used by these Communist Team Anna Members...Anyway my Suspicon become relaity when Team Anna Removed Bharat Mata photo from Back of the stage...then Kejriwal abusive comment about Modi...Feeling like I have drained my energy for this Anna Movement..which now actually doesn't have anything to do with Anna...I like Swamy he is single effective against Corruption

  15. I'm afraid you have lost all objectivity with this post. Your devotion for Modi and intense desire to see him occupy the post of PM has made you biased against the 'motley crew' who you fear might upset Modi's apple-cart by stealing the 1-2% crucial BJP votes which might ultimately decide who will reign in Delhi from 2014.

    Regular politicians don’t make a motley crew? What makes Sushil Kumar Shinde a better home minister than say, Kiran Bedi? Wouldn't ex-army chief VK Singh be a better Defense minister than Sharad Pawar or Mulayam Singh Yadav? Wouldn’t the Bhusans introduce some much needed serious judicial reforms? Give me Shazia anyday to motley crew of ass-licking bimbos like Renuka Chaudhary or Ambika Soni?

    On twitter, you were ranting against AK because he had approached Narayan Murthy & Kalam to lead the movement. I fail to understand what was so shockingly revealing about Anna being the third choice that makes Kejriwal such a scheming villain as you paint him to be. If, anything it reflects poorly on the ex-prez and ex-infy chairmam that they choose to decline being part of such a historic movement.

    AK has political ambitions? Do you seriously think that when he quit his lucrative job in IT dept, he would have imagined that he would one day be a leader of such a huge mass movement? Even if he has political ambitions, so what! Only NaMo has right to have a desire to lead the country?

    Perhaps AK shouldn’t have spoken against Modi, but I think he genuinely dislikes him because of his involvement in riots and also because he refuses to appoint Lok Ayukta. The propaganda against Modi over the last decade has been so shrill, that a lot of people (including me) had developed intense hatred for him.

    I watched Shazia on Times Now when Modi was being discussed. While the regular modi-baiters were having a go at him, Shazia asked the question that a lot of us are asking – why only Modi was being targeted and not the other chief ministers/prime ministers who have presided over hundreds of previous riots. That for me is evidence that Team Anna members are not your usual, hypocritical left-wingers.

    “I don’t think people were desperate for another political alternative. “

    Who are you to decide that? Right now, is there any political outfit which is open for talented people with integrity who want to use their experience to reform the nation? Why doesn’t BJP give tickets to people like Arun Bhatia or Meera Sanyal? You should actually be ranting against the leadership of BJP for being a bunch of jealous pricks envious of Modi’s rising popularity. If BJP doesn’t win in 2014, don’t blame TA, but the morons who occupy the top leadership posts of the party for not rising above petty politics and their personal ambitions. BJP had a chance to stand up for the common man and provide unconditional support to team anna, but they chose to be little ninnies instead standing up for their parliamentary privileges. I can’t really blame TA for being skeptical of politicians of all shades.
    Btw, did you watch Barkha’s show yesterday? I was pleasantly surprised to see her relentlessly question the hypocrisy of those who are expressing disgust at TA joining politics. Whatever her agenda might be, her facial expressions reflected sincerity and she seemed genuinely baffled at the opposition against TA.

    Its sad, but she was a lot more objective about the whole matter than you are.

    1. @Socratus

      You have brought a lot of extraneous and invalid arguments like wanting Modi as PM etc. to your comment. If I wanted Modi as PM I'm pretty capable of writing 10 posts to support that. Surprisingly, you wont find a SINGLE post on the topic. So save the imaginary motives.

      Nowhere have I ever mentioned theres anything wrong with TA starting a political party and I have tweeted that too. I have consistently pointed out actions that are not in sync with the stated motives and objectives of TA.

      As far as BJP is concerned there is a separate post titled "The suicidal bride" which states their hopeless situation. You may be angry if you're a TA supporter. That's not material to me. Besides, it is really not objective to my analysis how any political formulation affects BJP or any other party. That is not my expertise.

      If I state "People are not desperate for a new political party" it is my considered assessment. Incidentally, this happens to be my blog and I have the right to say it and you have the right to disagree. Get it? And in case you arent aware many Anna supporters have given the same feedback to TA. Nobody is disgusted with anyone joining politics. It is disgusting only when their motives are cloaked and then abuse and insults are hurled at all and sundry.

      Lastly, I dont write my posts based on Barkha's facial expressions even if that were to be indicators of anything.


    2. "motives are cloaked "

      AP has a politacal party called loksatta started by Jayprakash narayan 6 year back an ex IAS-Doctor-activist ...he is close to AK fromt he days of (Right to information)... if AK wished he could have easily been a political man along with JP of AP...AK dint like the idea of JP then and stayed away!!... why he went through all this mud slinging from congress to start a party... ? i think TA were left with no other option...

      If I state "People are not desperate for a new political party" it is my considered assessment.

      well sir your assessment can be wrong...
      and the commetor is not trying to take away you rights in you blog.. he simply differs with your opinion..

      why this koleveri :) ?

      "arent aware many Anna supporters have given the same feedback to TA"

      do you have any numbers many people are for and against TA in politics... or is it just like english media saying many feel blah blah with out any metrics.. you yourself bring this out on sagarika assam muslim vs hindu numbers displaced to refuge camps?

      "TA simply had no idea how many Modi supporters had initially supported them."

      do you know how many?
      who knows after TA modi bashing they might have gained many supporters?... your guess is just as bad as any one elses'..

      sorry but this opinion of users lacks sincerity and merit... as it is baised towards MODI's wikileaked.. uncorruptableness.....

      and its obvious you will put MODI above TA or may be JP(jayprakash narayan) when it comes to honesty ... with one proof that wikileaks thinks so argument...?
      sir at the same time wikileaks dint say TA is corrupt...did it?
      but CAG exposed corruption in Gujarat... ? why dont you critic that ?

    3. Ravinar, I've never heard Barkha or Sagarika overtly support congress or say that they desire to see Rahul as PM, but everyone knows where their sympathies lie.

      Your sympathies are too not hidden from your readers, no matter how much you protest. As a voter or as a blogger, of course, there is nothing wrong in being a devoted fan of Modi, but as a media critic constanly abusing mainstream media for its biases against BJP, it is hyprocritical on your part to harshly judge every individual or a group purely on the basis of their stand vis-a-vis Modi. Have you seen other mediawatch groups like thehoot or newslaundry exhibit political bias?

      It may not have occured to you, but many journos have a natural bias against right wing politics because of their liberal arts/humanities background. You are scared of a motley crew of activists/socialists fighting for political power, but then left liberals were similarly frightened of puranitical hindu fanatics in chaddis takeover the administration of the country.

      "Incidentally, this happens to be my blog and I have the right to say it"

      I get it, but perhaps the owners of mainstream media too treat their newspapers and TV channels as their private domains and feel they have a right to push their opinions on the masses.

      My point is that as a mediawatcher you need to be extra careful not to come across as politically biased. You accuse team anna that their motives are cloaked and that they abuse and insult all and sundry, but then the same accusation can be made against you - that under the guise of exposing media crooks, you are running a #NaMoforPM campaign and that you abuse and insult all those who are opposed to Modi. Ironical, istn't it?

      Btw, if Kejriwal is a maobandi in disguise, as you and Kanchan Gupta claim, why did he first run to two towering symbols to right wing idelogy - N.Murthy, a socialist-turned-capitalist and Kalam, a right-wing militant nationalist - to lead his movement?

    4. @Socratus

      Let me state a few things:

      The very purpose of defending Modi against a vicious decade old campaign by MSM is that if it were left to them, he would have been hung by now. Social media, in many ways, has helped restore balance.

      As for "my right to say things" ... My response was directly against your question "What right do you have..." I hope you see that debating what I have said is not the same as questioning my RIGHT to say it. When I write a post I do take exceptional care in the way words and lines are chosen. These are not written or crafted loosely.

      As for MSM.. I have never questioned their right to say what they want. I have debated it, disputed it, ridiculed it. If you are comparing my blog with mainstream media outlets it is truly sad. They have certain privileges under the constitution and laws provided to them as "media". I dont have the same privileges nor do other bloggers and SM writers. Therefore, they have commited themselves to reporting facts and not distort it. Their bias doesnt offend me, but I will continue writing my assessment of them.

      As for The Hoot and Newslaundry the comparison is not relevant. The Hoot and Newslaundry ARE being run by MSM personalities even if their sizes are smaller.

      Lastly, I do not abuse the media. Nowhere will you find language that can be considered abuse. Now, it is not the MSM's bias against BJP or others that is the motivation for this site. It is that they have become mouthpieces for the ruling party (Congress) and that is hardly the job of the news-media. They are supposed to be 'almost' like an opposition to the govt. which they are not. Which is why this blog was created in the first place. Not because they are anti-Modi or anti-BJP. But yes, the exceptional Hate-campaign against Modi based on lies figure frequently because it is merited.


    5. For the first time I dont agree with you Ravinar :-)but with Socratus and shashi. I stayed away frm twitter for 10 days and was at Jantar Mantar for a week. Inspite of inclement weather, govt tricks of blocking metros etc people thronged there full of fervour against the congress... On of the main sloans was.. : aapki aavaz jaani chahiye 7 no aur.... the crowds wld roar 10 number! yes they did do the token BJP sounded forced. it will indeed be a sad day for India if the corrupt evil forces of the Congress are able to prevail and dictate the destiny of our country merely bcause we could not be united....

  16. This blog once used to praise Kejriwal for being a good panelist. (see India's worst panelists) But this has changed after he criticized Modi.

    You may differ from his views on Modi, secularism etc etc but plz dont attack him personally.

    1. @Aditya

      This blog has praised Kejriwal as a panelist? Where did you read that? And that too in a post on India's Worst Panelists?

      But sure, there have been times I have praised Kejriwal. So why is the criticism so unpalatable? And what is so personal about it? AK and TA members are public figures just like other politicians or media celebs, there is nothing personal about it. It would be personal if I had perceived a direct damage/benefit caused to me by AK. He has not.

  17. Brilliant analysis and Post Ravinar. Even if the unthinkable happens and TA goes on to create a party, and even if the unthinkable happens and they get a majority, (both of which could be actually impossibilities), this reminds me of AASU leading to form AGP in Assam. Look what happened to them. Nothing changed in Assam...congress has been ruling for so many eventually this will yield to nothing...I agree...

  18. BJP has no credibility on the corruption issue. It has failed as an opposition party to hold accountable one of the most corrupt governments in the history of India. Even when it was in power as head of NDA it didnt do anything on this issue. The average middle class Indian that is upset with this issue knows this. Many of us are not motivated by hindutva politics but want India to be respected on the world stage as a rising power. The present structures of our political parties are the biggest impediment to that. If this was some evil design of Kejriwal and Co. from the beginning to form a political party, I have to say I am truly impressed by their strategic acumen. They might get zero seats in future elections but they will continue getting TV and print airtime because people who follow them also watch the news channels. So news channels will keep showing their every move for TRPs.

    1. I agree! They might get zero seats but that may not really be their role. They might help re-elect the very parties and govt that they claim to be calling corrupt and campaigning against. If they contest, say 200 seats in the next general elections which party do you think they will help the most? That should answer questions on why there is an AGENDA behind the moves of Arvind Kejriwal (I specifically exclude Anna and others from this.)

    2. If you accept my premise that there is no difference between Congress and BJP on the issue of corruption, then who cares who wins. In any case in the six largest states of the country, neither Congress nor BJP will be a viable contender to win even 25% of the Lok Sabha seats that are on offer. The condition in UP is mirrored elsewhere too. That adds up to 290 seats. Hence, I do not accept that just because Anna supporters/IAC field a candidate in a constituency it will automatically help Cong/UPA. It will depend on the local conditions of the constituency and the state.

  19. So far, I have mostly enjoyed your posts and think you have doing a great job. But I think you are starting to get a bit cocky. Before you start saying 'It is my Blog blah blah', let me concede that you have every right in this world to be cocky.

    A good blog should display not just 'his/her views' but a balanced, well thought out views with wide perspectives. Let me point out a few irresponsible statements from you -

    "Then the motley crew of Kiran Bedi, Manoj Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas, Shazia Ilmi" --> What is wrong with them? They are brave and are fighting for a noble cause on behalf of all of us, so stop being condescending and cynical.

    "Of course, he had called MPs corrupt, murderers and rapists. A sweeping generalisation by a losing man!" --> As someone above pointed out, this cannot be taken literally and I know you are not so naive. Yes, most of our MP's are corrupt and quite a few murderers. Rapists of democracy. Are you serious when you disagree with??

    "They want to become THEM" --> You makes no sense. They want to be 'good' politicians. Nothing wrong with that!!

    "I don’t think people were desperate for another political alternative. “ --> You surely do not know this!! Not everyone is content with just BJP!

    "motives are cloaked" --> AK is the best samurai we have, so stop poking holes and start appreciating the spirit behind his fight.

    You are too caught up in critical analysis and surely have taken Modi criticism to heart. I love Modi and I fully disagree with AK blaming Mod, but you cannot go after a guy personally, just for that!!

    Overall extremely disappointing blog especially since you had set a pretty high standard so far.

  20. Anna movement is dead.Congress and media played smart to ditch Anna and his team.I don't think there will be political party by Anna.They don't have guts.They are not visionary nor do they political skill and experience to make this movement on mass scale.I knew they were dead on arrival.

  21. @Yuyutsu, @shashi

    Here's something from a somewhat low profile journalist which might suit your palate a lot more than my harsh critique (A journo I have defended in the past on this site)



    Anna was breaking his fast with a Dalit and Muslim girl? Isn’t that the kind of hateful tokenism we see from politicians?

    For instance, let’s look at what happened in the Hisar by-poll last October. Only a clever bunch of politicians could have chosen that constituency to launch its fight against the Congress. Anyone who knew the area knew that Congress candidate Jai Prakash was a nobody and had no chance of winning. So knowing that it was a really safe bet, Team Anna said that the outcome in Hisar would be a vote on the Jan Lokpal Bill. And yes, after a high-profile campaign, where the media followed Arvind Kejriwal and company door-to-door, speech after speech, the Congress did get defeated but look whom they apparently ‘helped’ win — Kuldeep Singh Bishnoi of the Haryana Janhit Congress. The irony that the Congress candidate had no criminal cases — Bishnoi did — and was, relatively speaking, a pauper — Bishnoi’s assets grew Rs31 crore in two years — was not missed.

    The New York Times quoted Anna as saying some of his team members had ego problems which is why they didn’t give him the right kind of feedback during the agitation last year.

    Finally, the most jarring similarity I found between politicians and Team Anna was the use of people’s support as vindication for everything. So, just as a politician charged with corruption of mammoth proportions claims he is still not guilty in the people’s court, Team Anna explains all its contradictions as being backed by the same people’s court. They told us they had agreed to enter politics after a referendum carried out by SMS and online polls. I wonder how their political acumen allowed them to trust such a thing?


    Even the staunchest supporters of TA do need to seriously assess the Team rather than giving into sentimentalism.

  22. I read Ravi's blog regularly. Team Anna's decision to enter into politics is good but taken at wrong time. This is not the good time to enter into politics just to give the pain of congress governance for another 7 years. I don't question or suspect patriotism of AK, KB and Anna Hazare. They are good people. but i feel they should have waited for 2014, BJP may have passed strong Lokpal if not the Janlokpal. we waited for more than 42 years for the bill so now why to worry, couldn't they wait another two years? Now what will happen, they will eat votes of BJP and UPA-III will form the next government, TA will keep fighting in parliament and off parliament. drama will go for another 20 - 30 years, when they will in position to form government after 30 - 40 years, most of team member would be expired and janlokpal will be forgotten. India will have three national political party "Congress, BJP and "Swaraj" with no clear majority to form government. India is destined to suffer more in coming years with Idiotic decision of TA. India will remain CIRCUS forever. India need political leadership like Modi and Social leadership like anna hazare, Kiran bedi and Arvind Krejiwal. then only then India can grow & escape from this corrupt congress trap. If TA made their decision to wait 40 - 50 years from now for Janlokpal, why can't they wait another 2 - 3 years?

  23. Dear Ravinar,

    The main reason why this article is getting some extreme replies is because the people had put complete faith in Team Anna & are finding it very difficult to accept their utter failure on bringing an effective Janalokapal. This is exactly the mistake which is repeated by most followers when they put faith in individuals without creating a strong organization itself.Would anybody beleive that a strong & effective Janalokapal would have been achieved within 2 years of agitation ???? Only naive peole would ever beleive that! This agitation was always political from the start & hope people realise this hard truth. Whether Arvind K or Kiran Bedi stand & win an election is another story.

  24. Somehow the team lost track midway and was speaking in too many voices on too many different things. Instead of demanding Lokpal, the ultimate effectiveness of which is mired in controversy, Team Anna should have focussed on demands which can hardly be opposed in a legitimate manner. To exemplify, electoral reforms in the form of ban on chargesheeted candidates would have been a good beginning. Citizen charter uniformly implemented across the country would have been another. The success of RTI act suggests that small victories have enormous consequences. By demanding small things and keeping themselves focussed they could have avoided this sorry conclusion of an otherwise brilliant movement.

  25. I am stil unable to access your blog through BSNL server. Is it permanently blocked.

  26. i do wonder , when kejriwal critisizes modi he's become the bad boy alll of a sudden? there is a definite slant all the way towards bjp, modi and all things hindutva. you can't bring yourself to properly critisize baba ramdev? the same guy who says we can cure cancer by yoga ??

    1. Do you really know anything about Ayurved? did allopathy exist 1000 years back? If your answer is 'No' please enhance your knowledge instead of making comments on Cancer cure by baba ramdev. There are n number of examples with scientific evidence and it is very much possible to cure Cancer and other critical diseases with the help of Ayurved & Yoga.

    2. @Varghese

      I dont see the connection. Firstly, BRD and his Ayurvedic meds have nothing to do with this blog or this site in general. Secondly, BRD and his followers were savaged by the govt in a brutal attack in June 2011. His assistant is now under police custody. What exactly do you want me to criticise him for?

  27. I was quite surprised by uncontrolled venom you spit on Twitter on Arvind (AK) and was waiting for this post to understand what was it I was missing.

    Unfortunately found it was the Modi factor more than AK.

    As in job interviews, many of us may pretend as if all our past career/personal decisions were part of the grand design that such intelligent/know-it-all creatures as us scripted at the time of our birth, we know life takes it own turns. May be AK did have a plan or thoughts arounds going political at some point. So what? I am sure AK could have joined an existing party if he wanted and need not have played this route.

    I have reservations over Anna's ideas or AK's rigidness or JanLokPal's absurdity. However, would choose Arvind/Kiran Bedis over the Mulayams/Kapil Sibals any day. And I cant stop hating Renuka Chaudhary.

    I wish Modi-worshippers would step back a bit and stop propogating Modi as the 'absolute' right. I hate Modi-haters as well for the same reason. Heck I may even vote for Modi when it comes to it. May be Modi is the need of the hour to bring the pendulum back to its equilibrium. But I would like to hold on to the ideal that the spirit of India (or for that matter Hindutva) is bigger larger and more inclusive than that of Modi's.

    I have generally liked most rather all of your posts. Why does this post doesnt seem all that objective and balanced.

    1. I agree that nobody should attack AK on the basis of his personnel ambition. everybody has personnel ambition including Mighty Modi, You, Me and Author of blog too. The decision to enter into politics at this is wrong. Team anna will not achieved anything by cutting the anti incumbency votes and favoring congress to form government in 2014. Indian will see same agony for another five year, same story of congress corruption, their arrogance, same slogans of team anna and Indian will continue to suffer.

    2. @Rajguru

      Nothing wrong with personal ambition. My serious question is what or who are these people intending to serve by calling Modi corrupt and one of them calling him "murderer of humanity". This, after Modi had praised Anna. Now, arent they doing exactly what the Congress was and is doing? Who are these dialogues meant for? Are these meant for an anti-corruption against the Congress or for it?

      You are dead right in your observations. Looks like the TA defenders are still wrapped in emotions and sentimentalism to really cut through the deception of TA, particularly AK.

    3. On the contrary i think Anna would cut into Congi votes!...those ppl voting for Cong merely bcos they did not want to vote BJP/RSS/Modi would now hav a non cong option!!

    4. Am a modi supporter , and i support Modi for a specific reason. While every other politician / even social activist has to retain their secular credentials through Modi Bashing, attacking Modi has become the barometer for Congi , MSM based Pseudo-Secularism . AK certainly lost my respect after that. So I totally agree with Ravinar on his analysis , though he might ve been very hard on AK. Messages are more important than the messengers. When this thing gets switched around, you loose respect & non-sense. Thats what happened with AK against Modi. Their disrespect for Bharat Matha by removing to appease few groups is unacceptable. Thats a congress / secular party in making. Many patriots hate it. If Modi tomorrow plays Appeasement politics, believe me he will loose my support and respect. "Messages " and priniciples earn the support, that defines the person not otherway around. Thats the psyophancy of Congis & MSM

  28. really great article posted by this blog site really remarkable.
    i think good decision by team Anna for invent new political party. from that new political entry , team Anna make revolutionary change in Indian politics coming election.
    indian anti-corruption

  29. Crafty activist, Cunning politician by Kanchan Gupta totally exposes Arvind Kejriwal and his personal agenda. His personal targets seemed to exceed the team agenda.

  30. Lots of people seem to be too caught up in the 'personal ambition' angle of AK. Are you not ok if he delivers a solution to corruption (even if a partial one) even if he has personal ambition. Btw, going by his achievements so far, the guy is 1e9 times better than an a current day politician, so I think we should be happy that someone like him is out there fighting this. Instead of identifying with the spirit behind this movement, why are we focussing on unimportant things such as Prashant Bhushan is a ' silent operator' , AK's 'personal ambition', Anna 'not the first option of AK' etc etc.... For God;s sake unite with the spirit and stop focussing on trifles.

    Yes, they clearly on the best strategists but at the same time they are fighting an extremely entrenched establishment (worst being the Congress). So it is not easy. Only thing that will help the movement is people. So cut them some slack please.

    1. Correction - 'Yes, they clearly are NOT the best strategists ...'

  31. To start with - PATHETIC article. I used to think that this blog is against the biased and crooked media. But have realized that it was all about being 'ANTI Modi haters' and nothing else.


    Going by the farce logics you have used in this article, you look no different than the crooked media who use and manipulate facts for their own purpose. 'YOU HAVE BECOME THEM' - sadly. Consider this -
    "This post will deliberately ignore allegations of tax evasion by AK, his Trust being funded by Ford Foundation, fudging and swindling through travel bills by Kiran Bedi and other financial allegations against TA".
    Na na. Dont stop. Try dissecting these allegations (apparently misused by the crooked media too) and you know very well that you won't find anything. (AK) A joint commissioner in Income tax department and (KB) a senior IPS officer doesn't need to try very hard if they wanted to mint money illegaly. They could have very well continued in their comfortable jobs and minted millions. But fools they are. They thought of changing the society, fight the inherent corrupt elements even if that meant joining politics full of sharks. Do you really believe your allegations here hold any merit?

    Criticising Modi was really uncalled for and I do realize that AK has made a mistake. But that doesn't turn him into a villain as you have been trying to project (from the day he criticized Modi).

    Is joining politics that bad that tantamounts to being shamelessly ambitious? Well, be THANKFUL that while the likes of YOU and ME are happy and content by just criticising the biased media and corrupt politicians by sitting in our comfortable rooms, there are some (like AK) who have dared to take the plunge and clean the system themselves. Whether they succeed or not or loose their deposit, they would go to their grave fully content in their heart that they did whatever they could for their motherland. and I salute them for that.

    Now, take some break dude and rethink what you stand for. Being Pro Modi is not a problem. Being pro Modi by hook or by crook is the problem.

  32. Brilliant summary! I can understand why TA supporters are so upset with you. Once the realization sets in, they will acknowledge that they played an active role in a brilliantly choreographed media reality show. Media directed each and every move of theirs, prompted the sound bytes, special effects and eventually dictated the final outcome of this movement.The well thought strategy is to launch a brand new secular opposition party since BJP is not their cup of tea.
    Part two of this epic has just began. Please read HT column by Barkha Dutt( Aug 4,2012- The real Fight Begins. The script demands to generate a sympathy wave for TA now that it has earned the secular credential defined by Media. In their game, one fixed player will always be congress where as alternate will be created and destroyed whenever necessary.

  33. Congress supporters say arvind kejriwal only talk about congress's corruption nd is a bjp/rss agent.
    Bjp supporters say he's sonia gandhi's agent(dividing anti congress vote).

  34. Congress supporters say arvind kejriwal only talk about congress's corruption nd is a bjp/rss agent.
    Bjp supporters say he's sonia gandhi's agent(dividing anti congress vote).

  35. Look! The problem of AK is simple. TA supporters have to try to understand it. AK and his team tried to play the game of CON party and CON agents. The CON MAFIA did everything from the start: Question Bharat Mata picture, Question Vande mataram song, make it communal and throw communal tag and even upper caste tag. If you saw the article in CON agent media they called the supporters as anti-reservationists, Hindu right wing, RSS. The response should have been: We don't care. Every citizen and Every Indian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh. or Christian has right to be here and sing Vande mataram or Jana gana mana. Instead AK tried to make this we are secular than the sickular CON MAFIA and its agents. So attack Modi, RSS or BJP! The same garbage being spewed by CON MAFIA and CON leftist LOOTERS who have been using this rhetoric for the past 15 years to RAPE INDIA was being used by AK and his clueless team. They lost focus and the CON ITALIAN MAFIA and its PAID MEDIA destroyed them. The idiot AK has used Anna and screwed him. In the end, patriotic people who supported them were crushed by AK. This is the end of the movement.

  36. I think although Ravinar got a bit carried away by his post, I think the undertone of his post is clear and we the commentators should not be carried away by emotions. All Ravinar had done is to critically analyze Team Ann for they have stated their will to begin a political party. If they could not take the initial criticism, then how would they ever be a successful political party. More importantly Ravi's blog should be seen in the context of how the media should have been managed by Team Anna and how they failed to do it.
    I have supported Team Anna virulently in the initial days of the movement only because 1) The top brass of the BJP failed to read the mood of the nation 2) In the intial euphoria due to freshness of idea, everybody supported the movement and anybody saying otherwise were branded anti-national and even I had to virulently abuse anybody who would question intentions of Team Anna (especially AK).
    Now that the movement has taken a political turn, they will just not be questioned on jan lokpal bill and as a political party they have to open up on several other issue and make their stand clear.
    This is where the problem is, as the IAC does not have the resources to fight and nobody is going to fund them in large numbers like the corporates do, the movements of this sort generally wean away to the left of political centre centred on bluster and leftish rantings.
    The problem is in their urge to form a left of centre political party (as they need to depend on emotions of people rather than potent political ideology), they had to call modi "a mass murderer" and quickly baptize themselves as secular party(read jagannathan's first post article, jaggi has been voted as one of the best journalists on this website)!! due to this diatribe they not only alienated large sections of supporters who were nationalist bent and anti-congress supporters (and not pseudo liberal like our media) and have some appreciation for modi and BJP. As they are urban protests where BJP is traditionally strong, the call for formation of political party will only end up splitting anti-congress votes for the benefit of congress.

    Barkha dutt's smirk cannot be hidden as she is seen as die hard loyalist of congress and any dent in anti-incumbency vote is going to help congress to a larget extent. The same NDTV which indicted Arvind Kejriwal for raising this movement started supporting when they started a political party.It indeed angered BJP supporters but some people who are shift voters (like Ravinar's) are able to discern the impact on the impending elections.
    A similiar case was played in AP during 2009 elections when thoroughly corrupt Congress government was gifted power back by the split in anti-congress vote. This happened due to a party floated by jayaprakash narayan called Loksatta and praja rajyam by popular mass telugu actor chiranjeevi. The end result was TDP, the main oppostion ended up as sore losers along with Loksatta and prajarajyam whose voters were educated and enlightened but split among themselves while caste reddy's ,SC's and minorities stood solidly behind congress.since then the governance had become even more worse. In fact unimaginably worst.
    By being unqualified supporter of the movement now I have become the biggest crtic of team Anna since I fear what was repeated in my state will be repeated in the entire nation.

  37. To add a bit more to it.

    The praja rajyam since had been merged into congress party. The Loksatta is now redundant (where it used to practice sensible politics, neither leftish nor extreme right but encouraging enterprenuership while calling for governance reform and minimum assured facilities in Health and Education). Now for lack of funds it changed its ideology to pro-leftish and went on to become another communist party and away from middle class voters. Another Tamasha is being played by congress stooge called YSR congress party with Jagan as head and expecting to joing congress after he wins 2014 elections on sympathy wave. TRS a political party dedicated for creation of Telegana state out of AP is more against TDP and BJP than Congress and hopes to join Congress after it garners its share of vote due to emotional appeals for the telengana state. For the Congress its Heads I win, Tails you lose.

  38. Although not entirely related to topic.
    What Anna's movement has done is
    1)Exposed the bluff of the middle class who come first at whining and cribbing but never come out to vote in large numbers to affect change.
    2)Exposed the bluff of the oppostion who equally does not want the Lokpal bill passed (maybe other than communists and few independent parties) but were hiding on the back of anti-congress protests.
    3)Most of the supporters were anti-congress sections and were genuinely hoped Lokpal to be passed. But when they realized that the ensuing formation of political party will only end up dividing the anti-congress votes (everybody knows that the basic sections who support congress are poor,illeterate and minorities who are coerced by fear mongering,) they went against Team Anna.
    4)Middle class has to accept the fact that unthinking section of the voters have more power than the thinking voter of this country.
    5)Congress may not win the 2014 elections but it wont lose either. As BJP wont get as many seats due to loss of vote share due to split in votes. Congress will ensure power through backdoor by supporting third front and pulling the rug when it is sure that public memory has been forgotten about its misrule. welcome "back to the future".
    5.As Aravind Kejriwal has already mentioned his intentions of forming a secular party by allowing to shoot sanjay singhs mouth on modi.we will have another secular party.a dead weight.
    6.Finally some good may come out of it as BJP may field relatively better individuals (than in the past) to fight elections in urban centres as it fears a split in vote. The only silver lining is that right wing parties may put up better candidates to counter the allegations of team anna.Congress however need not fear as their base is entirely rural and from the unthinking voters.

  39. AK has all the right to have political ambitions if any. Any group of people will have differences and TA having differences is nothing wrong. Media whether you like them or not plays a big role in today's context and time. If TA went to receive awards it no way erodes their credibility.

    Doesnt BJP has people who have divergent views on economy? for eg the views of Jaitley and Sushma on economy may be different but when it comes to taking a final decision it will be done in party fora. Similarly even if Hedge doesnt agree with AK, it doesnt mean they will go separate ways. It is good for democracy if people are free to air their views and discuss them.

    Anna may be the 10th choice of AK for all it matters. It is completely irrevelant here. What is relevant is now how their ideology looks and finally if at all select the right people to fight the polls. We need people like meera sanyal not ramdev.

    Mark my words, TA's party will eat into a large chunk of BJP's votes. Dont be surprised if in 2014, BJP gets less than 50 seats in total. The unfortunate part is by eating into BJP's vote share they still may not be able to win any seats in the next polls and it will ulitmately help congress. Having said that if they persist and continue there may be silver lining to it afterall in 2019. I hope they contest gujrat elections just to get some experience. Middle class is firmly behind TA and is looking for an alternative apart from congress or BJP.

    1. BJP supporters seem to think that this is 1990 rather than 2012. The aspirations of the politically aware middle class Indians has changed considerably since then. A whole new generation has come of age that has no memory of the Babri Masjid agitation. That is the main reason the Hindutva plank wont work again. The middle class is not longer agitated by secularism. So, my request to all you online Hindutva activists is to stop beating that drum and start talking about corruption full time like Kejriwal and Co.

  40. TA went back into the bottle having let AAP out of it. In the midst of all the din, AK decided to drop the right to recall clause from JLP and wants to have all the power to himself. This is just another fraud being perpetrated on Indians.

  41. Politics is also religion, both run on beliefs and not on facts :)

    Thinking Modi can give solution to all problem is madness and thinking no other party can do good for nation is foolishnesses.

    Typing something in the internet comments and post and thinking I'm the only "right" is both.

    Anna wouldnt be such big figure without AK it is known truth. So Anna failed to be loyal to AK.

    In Muslim appesment, name a party which didn't do that.

    People who always critize media all of sudden started beliving everything said in media, AK attended other religious groups too do check the facts. And no one is perfect they may too make mistakes.

    There are only two people who felt cheated by their party, Advani and Alagiri :

    Let's wait for dec 8, and don't be surprised if Cong and bjp support each other indirectly.
    Who may fight for them, you may doe for them but they will not listen to u. Same for god too. :)


Comments are welcome and are now being moderated due to excessive spam on older posts. Genuine comments by readers will not be blocked. However, comments that are off topic, abusive, defamatory or slanderous may be deleted. Comments disclosing personal information of individuals/entities will be deleted.Comments appearing here do not imply endorsement by author of this blog.