Interview with Anna Hazare associate
Team Anna has invited flak for deciding to enter politics. But Anna Hazare associate Prashant Bhushan tells Sreelatha Menon that with time people will understand what they are driving at. An electoral revolution, he says, can invert the pyramid
You have said your party will have no high command. But you are just a powerful few at the top with no links to other members or non-members. Will you have a politburo like the Marxists?
When decisions have to be taken quickly, the leader has to take them. But on policy matters while formulating manifesto or selecting candidates, it would be through public consultation. There will be a working group and other structures to facilitate democratic functioning.
You have said that the main agenda is to take power from Delhi and delegate it to villages and local bodies. But such devolution can happen only if states want it. What can you do?
Central legislation can happen. Constitutional amendment is possible. Or we will do so by coming to power in states.
Your reach is limited to cities and the Internet crowd. The majority of voters in villages doesn’t know you.
It is not true that our appeal is limited to urban crowds. When we went to villages, people knew us even better. We saw a lot of sympathy and support there.
If you don’t get sufficient seats, will you form a coalition with another party, say, BJP? How then will your purpose be served?
We can’t form a coalition with any mainstream party which is corrupt or communal. Congress, BJP, SP or such parties are ruled out. But if some party like CPI offers to support, they are welcome. Our focus is not so much on running a government as on decentralising power to make democracy participatory. Even if we are fewer and have clout, we will be in a position to set the agenda. If we win 100 seats we would have a say in matters.
Your friends Medha Patkar and Devinder Sharma have opposed the move into politics. Supporters feel cheated.
In the beginning many won’t understand what we are driving at. They don’t know what will happen. But once we sit and talk I’m confident they will accept this decision. We want power to rise from the people. We want to invert the pyramid. It can happen only with a bloody revolution or through an electoral revolution.
A legislative seat needs a lot of money to win, some say crores of rupees. How would you be different?
If there is huge support it is possible without money. In 1977 they didn’t have money but won. If there is a collective desire for change, it will happen.
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