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Intent clear, method debatable

Anna Hazare may be the crusader that this country looks up to in the fight against corruption, but his methods to target the wrongs in the system could well lose their sting if he continues to make threats that target the specifics rather than work towards an overhaul, of the very system he is battling.

Mr Hazare, who got a significant portion of the civil society out on the streets during his Jan Lokpal Bill campaign with his hunger strike a couple of months ago, has threatened to go on another one to campaign against the Congress party. There is no gainsaying that the Congress-led UPA government has been witness to some of the worst scams in independent India, but that does not mean that this party alone is the fount of all corruption in the country.

First, Hazare needs to realise that corruption is not party specific. It is a phenomenon so ingrained in our minds that even a beat constable expects free stuff from shopkeepers he is expected to protect in his assigned locality. Secondly, while India's political class is indubitably corrupt, bribery is not restricted to politicians alone.
The bureaucracy is equally, if not more, corrupt. Most of all, it is the public mindset that no government work get done without bribery that is damaging. Given these circumstances, for Hazare to target the Congress alone is not only foolish, it is shortsighted. And even if he denies that this move is political in nature, how many would believe him, though his credibility has intact so far.

The trouble with Hazare's campaign against corruption has never been the intent; it is the method that is questionable. He says he has no ambitions of political power. That may be so, but if he wants to clean up the mess, he may well have to enter the ring and get his clothes dirty.

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