As Team Anna gets ready to face off against the UPA Government for a third time over the Lokpal Bill – with Anna Hazare going on a day-long fast in Jantar Mantar on December 11, and an indefinite mass rally being scheduled at Ram Lila Maidan beginning December 27, there cannot be any doubt whose side the people are on in this escalating confrontation. According to a LensOnNews poll a clear majority of respondents say Anna’s campaign is fully justified, and the Government is wrong in pursuing a vendetta against the individual members of his team.
Though the Government is maintaining that it is committed to passing a strong Lokpal Bill in the current Winter session of Parliament, the report of the Standing Committee falls short of the key demands insisted on by Anna – inclusion of the PM under Lokpal, inclusion of Group C employees of the Central Government, and the CBI being brought under the Lokpal. Anna Hazare has said this is clearly against the ‘Sense of the House’ Resolution adopted by the Parliament in its last session. He feels ‘betrayed’ by the Prime Minister who had written to him personally, forwarding the Resolution and assuring him of his commitment to the institution of a strong Lokpal.
Asked whether Anna Hazare is justified in threatening to campaign against the Congress party in coming elections if the UPA Government does not get a strong Lokpal Bill passed in the current Parliament session, as many as 55 per cent of the respondents to the LensOnNews poll said Yes, against 33 per cent saying No.
Even while the Government has made conciliatory noises towards Anna, Congress party spokesmen have floated allegations of financial and other irregularities against individual members of Team Anna and the NGOs associated with them; and various governmental agencies, including the income tax department and the police have been issuing notices and pursuing actions against Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan. Asked whether they believe these charges are true, or is the Government pursuing a vendetta against these individuals, 53 per cent say it is a governmental vendetta against only 26 per cent who believe the charges to be justified.
Yet another serious issue that has poisoned the discourse between Team Anna and the Congress party is the allegation that Anna Hazare is an RSS agent. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, said to be close to Rahul Gandhi, has gone on a no-holds-barred attack against Anna, calling him a tool of the RSS and terming his campaign a part of the RSS’s plan to destabilise the Government. According to him, Baba Ramdev’s fast was Plan A; Anna Hazare’s agitation is Plan B; and that Plan C, a campaign by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is in the works.
A majority of the respondents to the LensOnNews poll, 51 per cent, believe the allegation about the RSS being the force behind Anna is untrue; only 21 per cent say they believe it has a basis.
Anna and his team have said they have been getting broad-based support from people from all walks of life, and if RSS members are also among them they would be as welcome as Congressmen or members of any other party or organization. Asked whether they would find it objectionable if RSS supports Anna Hazare’s campaign, 53 per cent of the respondents in the LensOnNews poll say No, against only 21 per cent saying Yes.
This LensOnNews poll was carried out among a representative cross-sectional sample of 1375 voters in nine major cities (including four metros) between November 27 and 29. The findings are subject to a margin of error of 4%.