'By jailing Hazare govt looked inept, undemocratic'
"By jailing Hazare, the government looked both inept and undemocratic, and united a wide range of otherwise reluctant actors in support of Hazare's movement," said Congressional Research Service in its latest report 'India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics and US Relations,' which gives a detailed account of the anti-corruption movement in India.
An independent and bipartisan wing of the US Congress, the CRS prepares periodic reports on issues of interest to the US lawmakers.
The 94-page report was released by the CRS for US lawmakers on September 1, a copy of which made public by the Federation of American Scientists on Tuesday.By the spring of 2011, negative emotions sparked by months long revelations of high-level corruption reached the point where mass public mobilisation could occur, the CRS report said, adding two figures -- Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare-- were notable in initiating this development.
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Image: Anna Hazare
'Previously unknown, Ramdev has assumed more influence at national level'
Government officials said that Ramdev's permit allowed him only yoga and not a political demonstration; police said that permit was for a maximum of 5,000 attendees and some 40,000-60,000 showed up, the report said.
Public officials were discomfited by the exercise of political influence through a perceived "publicity stunt"; other observers were alarmed that hardline Hindu nationalists were at times sharing the stage with Ramdev.
"There was thus relief felt across India's political spectrum when, in mid-June, Ramdev called off his fast. Yet a previously unknown figure has assumed far more influence at the national level," report said.
Image: Baba Ramdev
'80 to 90 pc Indians favoured civil society's Lokpal version'
"Less than a week later, after many thousands in cities across India had taken up his cause, Hazare ended his strike and declared victory upon the government's announcement that it would form a committee to draft Lokpal legislation," it said.
According to CRS, opinion surveys have found huge majorities (80 - 90 per cent) of Indians favoring the civil society version.
Image: Anna Hazare's supporters protest at Ramlila Maidan, August 24
'Govt left impression that Hazare's movement speaks for nation'
"Still, the government has come under fire for failing to open lines of communication with alternative civil society groups, leaving an impression that Hazare's movement speaks for the entire nation.Meanwhile, 'Team Anna' itself has been criticised for allegedly dividing poorer minority communities, and for signs that Hindu nationalists are providing the bulk of its organisational muscle," the report said.