With Anna Hazare's deteriorating health due to chest congestion and excessive damage to his kidneys, not to mention the last protest at Mumbai receiving a tepid response at best, Team Anna stands at the crossroads today.
'Lokpal', meaning ombudsman, has been the subject of much contention in India. The Lokpal Bill, designed to reduce graft in the country, has been on hold in the Parliament for the past 40 years. It made the news last year, when patriotic fervour gripped the nation and the 'Jan-Lokpal Bill movement' was born. Millions of people took to the streets to demand a graft-free country and a strong, capable Lokpal body to deal with corruption in a nonviolent manner. Anna Hazare, the veteran Gandhian, and a team of highly influential social activists collectively christened Team Anna by the media, led this social movement, proposing the 'Jan-Lokpal Bill' as an alternative to the weak bill proposed by the parliament.
Lokpal Bill, the sustaining force of the Jan-Lokpal Bill Movement that gripped the country last year, is now under discussion in Parliament. However no concrete action seems to be in the cards as the Members of Parliament debate upon the merits and demerits of the proposed bill, all the while looking out for their personal interests. In a frank letter of admission to the public in general, Arvind Kejriwal, a prominent member of Team Anna and a long time crusader for a transparent, corruption free India, said that Team Anna is now at a loss to determine the next steps to reignite the movement. He seeks answers from the people, since it is the people of the country who lifted the movement up and saw it through.
As five states (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur, Goa) go to the polls this year, Team Anna needs a strong nonpolitical voice to lend it credibility and strength. In India, a political career has always been viewed as untrustworthy, due to the sheer amount of corruption that is unearthed every year, so Team Anna's political leanings will have severe repercussions.