The Anna Hazare movement has announced that they will work towards a “new political alternative”. By disbanding Team Anna, Anna Hazare has in a way withdrawn his own name and brand from this future course of ‘political’ action. The focus now shifts to Arvind Kejriwal and others. But does the promised “new political alternative” have a new idea?
Hazare’s erstwhile team announced their entry into politics in a manner reminiscent of the high drama that accompanied actor Chiranjeevi’s launch of his Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) in 2008 in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. Covered live across channels, Chiranjeevi’s face flashing from 12 LCD screens, the event was expertly choreographed for prime time TV. Today, four years later, after having failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat, Chiranjeevi has merged his party with the Congress and is now a Congress Rajya Sabha member.
Kejriwal ended his fast with a full-scale address to the nation live on all channels. He invoked Jayaprakash Narayan’s 1974 speech by echoing JP’s call for ‘sampurna kranti’, or total revolution. Former Army Chief VK Singh also quoted a poem once quoted by JP: “Singhashan khali karo, ki janata aati hai.” The “new political alternative” is trying to reinvent itself as a neo-JP movement for the 21st century. But will JP’s politics work in 2012?