Business, Finance & Economics

India's political parties move to co-opt anti-corruption movement


Anna Hazare (C), the Indian anti-corruption activist whose 13-day fast forced the government to reconsider a new law tackling graft, waves to supporters in his village of Ralegan Siddhi on September 2, 2011.



With the dust settling from the anti-corruption agitation spearheaded by Anna Hazare, both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are jockeying to co-opt the movement with initiatives of their own.

The BJP's senior leader, L.K. Advani, has made the fight against graft the theme of his latest "rath yatra" (or pilgrimage), planning to fly and drive across India browbeating the ruling government for doing more or less what everybody else (including the BJP-led NDA of 1999-2003) has been doing for years.  So far the response has been a collective yawn, according to tk

Meanwhile, the Congress party -- increasingly seen as the target of the anti-corruption stir, as Hazare's people join the campaign frenzy for bye elections in Hisar, Haryana -- has added a wrinkle of its own.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a letter to Hazare pledging to introduce the so-called Lokpal Bill in parliament soon, and the Congress has vowed to take up Rahul Gandhi's suggestion that the ombudsman's office should be made an authority more powerful than the election commission through a constitutional amendment -- effectively manuevering to make it look as if this whole fight against corruption was a Congress idea.

Fat chance.  But ten out of ten for effort.