Ignoring medical advice and concerns of his well-wishers about his health, Anna Hazare began his indefinite fast on Sunday, joining his team members, who have been fasting since July 25 at Jantar Mantar in the national capital. The soldier-turned-activist denied accusations that his team was deviating from its stated aim of getting the Lokpal Bill passed and held the ruling Congress, as well as the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, responsible for blocking its passage in Parliament. This is the fourth indefinite fast by Hazare since April last year. The April fast was followed by one in Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi in August and in Mumbai in December. In between, he had observed token one-day fasts in Delhi thrice — in June and December last year and March this year.
During this period, Hazare and his team have engaged with senior politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties and found them wanting. They have realised that if ‘good people’ do not enter Parliament, there will be no change in the system and the nation will never get a strong anti-corruption legislation and vowed to work for a political alternative in the 2014 parliamentary elections. Hazare has said that though he will himself keep away from contesting elections, activists of his movement against corruption will campaign for candidates with a clean background selected by the people.
Even his detractors admit that few activists have captured the imagination of Indians across the globe as Anna Hazare, who has become the face of India’s fight against corruption. It is time he realised that the mindset of the political class, which has become adept at deflecting public attention from people’s issues, cannot be changed by resorting to fasts or sit-in protests in a few urban centres. Since his commitment to change the current tainted system is never in doubt, they should think of converting the movement into a platform for providing an alternative political agenda. It is time for transition: Anna the social activist must become Anna the game-changer.