Anna Hazare Announces Padyatra, Says ‘No’ to Arvind Kejriwal

Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare

The anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who believes in the Gandhian philosophy, will begin a month-long Padyatra (foot march) from Sevagram.

By Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman

Social activist Anna Hazare has announced the next phase of his agitation against the government’s ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill.

The anti-corruption crusader Hazare, who believes in the Gandhian philosophy, will begin a month-long Padyatra (foot march) on March 25 from Sevagram in Maharashtra, where Mahatma Gandhi had his residence.

The Padyatra will conclude at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on April 27. This is the extension of Hazare’s campaign that he launched in February against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s policies on acquiring farmers’ land. Hazare has termed them as anti-farmer policies.

Although Hazare had said that he is leading a civil society campaign where politicians will not be allowed to share stage with him, in his last month’s protest a new politician Arvind Kejriwal had barged onto the stage with the 77-year-old Hazare.

[ Read: Hazare, Kejriwal Join Forces to Target Narendra Modi ]

But this time Hazare has made it clear that no politician will be allowed to share stage with him at the Ramlila ground, as Hazare has repeatedly called Indian politics a dirty game for the corrupt.

This is a warning to Kejriwal that he should stay away from Hazare. Earlier, Kejriwal was supporting Hazare in his anti-corruption movement of 2011. But he deserted the social activist to form a political outfit Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

And now AAP has proved Hazare right that politics is indeed a dirty game, as Kejriwal is at daggers drawn with his other party leaders who are as selfish as Kejriwal while AAP is facing existential crisis.

The AAP leaders are quarreling with each other publicly because after winning the Delhi election in February, Kejriwal grabbed the Chief Minister position while others are left empty-handed.

[ Can Aam Aadmi Party Stay United? No Way. ]

As the AAP conflict has turned into an ugly dogfight, Hazare has decided to stay away from it. That’s why he won’t allow politicians including Kejriwal to sit with him in his upcoming protest. Hazare wants to keep it a civil society – and civilized – campaign.

The planned agitation of Hazare is a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s socio-economic policies. According to Hazare, Modi’s policies are “anti-farmer” as the government is trying to acquire farmers’ land without their consent and would give it to capitalists for industrial projects.

[ No Democracy in India. It Is Parliamentary Dictatorship. ]

Hazare’s agitation announcement has sent shocking signals among the investors’ community. As a result, Sensex – the stock market index – in India plummeted by more than 600 points, which is the biggest single-day drop in two months.

The local as well as foreign investors are obviously nervous about Modi government’s lack of control on economic policies and its continuous failure on other administrative fronts.

The opposition Congress party has already criticized the government’s Union Budget 2015-16. It said the Budget has ignored the needs of the poor sections of society and it aims to please only the rich capitalists. “BJP’s Budget is “of the corporates, for the corporates,” Congress said.

[ BJP Budget: Dhan Wapsi Budget for the Corporates ]

Hazare’s earlier anti-corruption campaign in 2011-12 was among the main factors for the fall of Congress-led UPA government in 2014 Lok Sabha election, as the nationwide campaign had exposed rampant government corruption.

Now Hazare has decided to target Modi and his BJP, beginning with his Padyatra after a couple of weeks. Modi must be worried. Naturally.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company

You also can read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman

This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.

Photo courtesy: Anna Hazare website

RMN News

Rakesh Raman