By Rakesh Raman
While the first national-level campaign of social activist Anna Hazare in 2011 focused on mounting levels of corruption in India, his next campaign is going to be against the anti-farmer policies of the government.
Hazare is all set to come from his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra to India’s capital New Delhi to hold a two-day protest beginning February 23 at Jantar Mantar ground.
The agitation, which is expected to be supported by leading farmers’ associations, is against the recent amendments in the Land Acquisition Act by the government.
In December last year, government had recommended amendments that aim to acquire farmers’ land without their consent. It is considered a pro-capitalists move of the government to benefit big industrialists who helped Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) win Lok Sabha election of 2014.
Hazare, who has become a hot brand in the protest-laden Indian politics, has also warned Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi that he must fulfill his poll promise of paying every Indian citizen Rs. 15 lakh (USD $25,000 approximately).
Modi and his political party BJP had allured the Indian voters before the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 saying they will recover the black money stashed away abroad by a slew of Indian crooks and distribute it among all citizens of India.
The BJP had estimated that Rs. 15 lakh will be the share of every Indian if all the unaccounted money is brought back from the foreign coffers.
This is a huge amount for a local Indian considering the fact that 400 million people in the India’s population of 1.25 billion live below $1.25 per day.
In 2011, Hazare had led a massive anti-corruption campaign in New Delhi primarily against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government headed by Congress party, which was facing a series of corruption charges.
Although Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign failed miserably and corruption persists in India, two of Hazare’s supporters – Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi – used that campaign as a stepping stone to deceptively launch their political careers.
Arvind Kejriwal has managed to become the Chief Minister of Delhi while Ms. Bedi got defeated as a BJP candidate against Kejriwal in the recent Delhi election.
As Hazare was let down by Kejriwal and Bedi, his planned agitation could also be an attempt to steal the limelight from them.
You also can read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman
Photo courtesy: Anna Hazare website