So after the first fast of Anna the Congress virtually dictated the agenda. Meanwhile Team Anna got Anna, who had first praised Narendra Modi, to talk against him so as to move the Anna movement further away from the BJP. This was the setting for the second Anna fast.
But the simple Anna proved increasingly difficult. He demanded a JLP Bill that included the PM down to everyone in the net. The Congress raised the plea that Anna could not dictate to the Parliament and got the BJP into the trap again. It got the constitutionalists in the BJP to endorse its view, again clubbing the BJP with itself!
But, the Congress strategy to handle Anna like it handled Swami Ramdev failed miserably with the media, which had no other headlines, focussing on Anna 24x7. With the media screaming ‘Anna’ and ‘Anna’ all the time, the Congress was on the run. Alas the BJP also found itself running with the Congress, against Anna. But, RSS workers enthused by Anna’s cry of “Vandemataram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” – both branded as RSS slogans – joined the movement in large numbers forcing the BJP president Nitin Gadkari to disregard the BJP Parliamentary Party and write to Anna offering support to his demands.
This forced the BJP Parliamentary Party also to side with Anna, rationalising the shift as the “evolving” stand of the BJP! This tilted the scale in Anna’s favour. But again the Congress would not leave the BJP. It joined with the BJP in the ‘Sense of the House’ exercise. The media claimed victory for Anna and for itself.
Here is the balance sheet of the Anna movement as of date. The BJP bracketed with the Congress loses; the Congress does not. The Congress cannot take Anna for granted; Anna cannot trust the Congress. The nation waits for what the Parliament will do about JLP Bill. The RSS is pleased that the two slogans “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vandemataram” long ostracised by Secular India have been secularised by Anna.
The writer is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.