Civil society to build on Anna victory

These civil society and other groups that have otherwise been engaged in bitter fight among themselves are now trying to come together to take forward their  common agenda of struggle against corruption in the country.

Though Anna’s April fast had forced these groups to rethink their stand on anti-graft  movement, they could not move towards formulating any common program until Anna reached Ramlile Maidan. It is interesting to note that various meetings and consultations forced ‘Team Anna’ to change its strategy for the  struggle.

After Team Anna’s victory, different civil society groups have not only started to make claims to their contributions to it, but also are trying to join hands to take the movement forward.

The ‘Narmada Bachao’ leader Medha Patkar led National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM) has been one of the first to move forward. Soon after Anna’s fast, the NAPM sat in Delhi to deliberate on its participation in the “struggle for change”, declared by Anna.
“Anna’s movement has taken up the issue of framers and other oppressed people. So, we are going to join it with our full strength,” says the farmers’ leader Bhupendra Singh Rawat.

Efforts are on to mobilise such groups which have been opposed to Team Anna from the very beginning. These also include reconciliation with Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander. Though some members of Team Anna are not at good terms with  Roy’s team, others are not averse to their joining hands with the team. This is the reason she was invited to meet Anna at Ramlila Maidan. She has been all praise for the Gandhian.

“Anna Hazare has opened up a great possibility. The movement is not limited to corruption,” says Magsaysay Award winner and NAPM leader Sandip Pandey.

According to a senior civil society member, civil society groups have been influencing  Anna Hazare’s movement at every stage. He cites such examples as changing the image of Bharat Mata  projected at Jantar Mantar in April to that of the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at Ramlila Maidan in August.

The member also refers to  Anna’s speech at  Ramlila  Maidan, and claims that the movement against corruption has now been transformed to a movement for change. This is due to the intervention of the civil society, he claimed.

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