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<br><b><br><br>JAYPRAKASH NARAYAN <br></b><br><br>There was no greater irony than Arvind Kejriwal's invocation of Jayprakash Narayan (JP to his followers) the day he announced the decision to start a new political party and Anna called off his fast. Team Anna's anti-corruption movement was as different from JP's 1974 total revolution movement as chalk is from cheese. Although there was a superficial similarity in terms of issues (corruption) and agitational methods (mass street mobilisation), it stopped there. JP's was a highly political movement that targeted Indira Gandhi's Congress government. He made no bones about leading a campaign for its ouster and gladly accepted the help of mainstream political organisations that were anti-Congress, like the Jana Sangh/RSS and the socialist parties. Even as he called on the army and police to disregard any government order that was unconstitutional or immoral, he never stood outside the political system to criticise but worked through it for change. <br>His movement eventually became a platform for likeminded parties opposed to Indira Gandhi to come together and on the eve of the 1977 elections, these parties merged into the Janata Party which swept Indira Gandhi out of power. The election was historic because it ushered in the first non-Congress government at the centre since Independence. <br>Team Anna, on the other hand, has ended up alienating the entire political spectrum by pitching itself as anti-politics and anti-politician. Today, as it flounders to reinvent itself, no political party is willing to give it a hand or bolster its sagging fortunes by lending numbers. Kejriwal's exhortation to follow in JP's footsteps only attracted derision from JP's followers, many of who are leading political figures today, like Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav.

The X factor

August 11, 2012





JAYPRAKASH NARAYAN


There was no greater irony than Arvind Kejriwal's invocation of Jayprakash Narayan (JP to his followers) the day he announced the decision to start a new political party and Anna called off his fast. Team Anna's anti-corruption movement was as different from JP's 1974 total revolution movement as chalk is from cheese. Although there was a superficial similarity in terms of issues (corruption) and agitational methods (mass street mobilisation), it stopped there. JP's was a highly political movement that targeted Indira Gandhi's Congress government. He made no bones about leading a campaign for its ouster and gladly accepted the help of mainstream political organisations that were anti-Congress, like the Jana Sangh/RSS and the socialist parties. Even as he called on the army and police to disregard any government order that was unconstitutional or immoral, he never stood outside the political system to criticise but worked through it for change.
His movement eventually became a platform for likeminded parties opposed to Indira Gandhi to come together and on the eve of the 1977 elections, these parties merged into the Janata Party which swept Indira Gandhi out of power. The election was historic because it ushered in the first non-Congress government at the centre since Independence.
Team Anna, on the other hand, has ended up alienating the entire political spectrum by pitching itself as anti-politics and anti-politician. Today, as it flounders to reinvent itself, no political party is willing to give it a hand or bolster its sagging fortunes by lending numbers. Kejriwal's exhortation to follow in JP's footsteps only attracted derision from JP's followers, many of who are leading political figures today, like Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav.

<br><b><br><br>V P SINGH </b><br><br>No leader has been more closely associated with the anticorruption campaign than V P Singh. In the late 1980s, he was the face of the public outcry against the Bofors scandal which was the first of the big scams to hit the headlines during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as prime minister. Being a politician, V P Singh's movement was intensely political, the goal being regime change. He initially worked through a front called the Jan Morcha which led the charge against Rajiv on the Bofors issue. Like JP's total revolution movement, the Jan Morcha too provided a platform for anti-Congress parties to come together to oppose Rajiv. Eventually, on the eve of the 1989 elections, the Jan Morcha morphed into the Janata Dal into which several smaller parties merged, particularly the splinter groups of old socialist parties. Armed with an electoral alliance/seat adjustment with the BJP on one side and the Left Parties on the other, VP's Janata Dal gave Rajiv a severe drubbing, reducing his unprecedented majority of 1984 by more than half. <br>Like Team Anna, much of VP's mobilisation on the Bofors issue was urban-centric, drawing on middle class angst about corruption. But he never pitched his movement as antipolitician. Instead, he focused on Rajiv and the Congress, who were equated with corruption and made their removal his single-point agenda. There were no grandiose announcements about systemic change. The tactics worked.

The X factor

August 11, 2012





V P SINGH


No leader has been more closely associated with the anticorruption campaign than V P Singh. In the late 1980s, he was the face of the public outcry against the Bofors scandal which was the first of the big scams to hit the headlines during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as prime minister. Being a politician, V P Singh's movement was intensely political, the goal being regime change. He initially worked through a front called the Jan Morcha which led the charge against Rajiv on the Bofors issue. Like JP's total revolution movement, the Jan Morcha too provided a platform for anti-Congress parties to come together to oppose Rajiv. Eventually, on the eve of the 1989 elections, the Jan Morcha morphed into the Janata Dal into which several smaller parties merged, particularly the splinter groups of old socialist parties. Armed with an electoral alliance/seat adjustment with the BJP on one side and the Left Parties on the other, VP's Janata Dal gave Rajiv a severe drubbing, reducing his unprecedented majority of 1984 by more than half.
Like Team Anna, much of VP's mobilisation on the Bofors issue was urban-centric, drawing on middle class angst about corruption. But he never pitched his movement as antipolitician. Instead, he focused on Rajiv and the Congress, who were equated with corruption and made their removal his single-point agenda. There were no grandiose announcements about systemic change. The tactics worked.

<br><b><br><br>VINOBA BHAVE </b><br><br>A scholar, thinker, writer and social reformer, Vinoba Bhave remained outside the political arena and yet his was a powerful voice that the rulers of the day could not ignore. His sarvodaya movement attracted thousands of followers but he kept it on a spiritual plain because he was not interested in dabbling in politics. He is best known for his 'bhoodaan' movement which was an attempt to convince big landowners to part with small tracts that could be given to landless and dalit families. The movement served as a pressure lobby on the government of the day to hasten land reforms and redistribution. <br>Bhave's insistence on staying away from politics did not make him any less influential and many political leaders sought his blessings. Such was his stature that when he died in 1982, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi cut short her visit to Moscow, where she was attending Brezhnev's funeral, so that she could be back in time for his cremation. <br>The niche that Bhave carved out for himself in national life was unique and has served as a model for several civil society activists who see themselves as pressure groups but not mainstream politicians.

The X factor

August 11, 2012





VINOBA BHAVE


A scholar, thinker, writer and social reformer, Vinoba Bhave remained outside the political arena and yet his was a powerful voice that the rulers of the day could not ignore. His sarvodaya movement attracted thousands of followers but he kept it on a spiritual plain because he was not interested in dabbling in politics. He is best known for his 'bhoodaan' movement which was an attempt to convince big landowners to part with small tracts that could be given to landless and dalit families. The movement served as a pressure lobby on the government of the day to hasten land reforms and redistribution.
Bhave's insistence on staying away from politics did not make him any less influential and many political leaders sought his blessings. Such was his stature that when he died in 1982, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi cut short her visit to Moscow, where she was attending Brezhnev's funeral, so that she could be back in time for his cremation.
The niche that Bhave carved out for himself in national life was unique and has served as a model for several civil society activists who see themselves as pressure groups but not mainstream politicians.

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