Have Anna Hazare and friends lost their way?

I think so. Ever since Anna Hazare ended his fast at Ram Lila Maidan, the group has been plagued with one problem after another.

It all started with the Hisar by-poll. I agree with the Congress' contention that the entire anti-Congress campaign was unnecessary. What had changed since the fast was called off? Did anyone say the Lok Pal bill would not be passed in the winter session of Parliament? If they had doubts about the Congress' intentions, then the fast itself should not have been called off!

Then the allegations against Kiran Bedi. She billed her hosts for executive class whereas she flew economy. The excess money, she says, went to the NGO and not to her. You cannot call this corruption, for sure. But dishonest, definitely yes! A group of people fighting against corruption at this level and claiming the support of the masses must be totally above board. They must have impeccable credentials and no one should be able to point a finger at them. Sadly, Kiran Bedi has not lived up to this ideal.

Which brings me to the referendum they claim to have held in which an astonishing 99% of the respondents said they would not elect Sonia Gandhi if the Lok Pal bill is not passed. Just what were they thinking? This last act was extremely immature. Dorab Sopariwala, on a news channel said that when pollsters come up with anything more than a 60% majority, they start getting nervous. And here was a 99% result. Obviously, the question was 'leading'. "If your MP does not support the Lok Pal bill in parliament then will you vote for him/her?" Who would answer that with a 'no'?

I am fully in support for a strong Lok Pal bill and have written in support of it here and here. But after the fast, I think the group has failed to act in a mature and reasonable manner. And if the group doesn't correct this, this could cost us the bill. Anna Hazare must be strong and take bold steps and be more in control of what is said and done in his name.

For the sake of this country!