After Anna Hazare and other members of his Team broke their fast at the Jantar Mantar on Friday evening, I too decided to leave the venue. As I stood waiting for an auto to drop me to the nearest metro station, an autowallah standing right outside the barricaded area agreed to drop me at the station. As he drove he asked me, “Madam, do you think corruption will ever end in our country?”
I didn’t answer his question instead asked him why he came to Jantar Mantar? He said he wanted to listen to Anna and asked me the same question again. Unable to find a convincing answer to his query, I again asked him the reason why he was at the Jantar Mantar. He said everyone knows that corruption will not end in our country.
By now, I was aware of his name (Atul). He was at the Jantar Mantar for two hours to listen to Anna. So I asked him what makes his think that corruption won’t end. He said, “We have to pay bribe even when we buy train tickets. How can it end? It is in our blood.”
He says he has been thinking of Anna and how he would be able to achieve what he is striving for. I asked him whether he has ever voted. He said he used to once. I asked him did anyone ever approach him asking for in the name of money or anything else. He said once an MLA promised to make their colony clean and ensure enough street lights if he wins. But he never did so. After that I decided against voting for anyone. “Ye log itna paisa khate hai, par fir bhi police inka kuch nahi bigaad sakti,” he added.
Atul says he has lived his life but wants a better life for his children. He said he was not sure how Anna would bring a change in the system but he would vote for him.
He dropped me at the Barakhamba road metro station. When I boarded the metro one of the two women, in her mid 30s, standing next to the door said to the other that team Anna will get votes. She said she will give the vote to his party. From their conversation I felt she was worried about the admission of her four-year-old child as any good school in her locality asked for high fees, which was difficult for her to afford.
When Team Anna announced of forming a party, I initially thought people might not accept their decision. The Team has been criticizing politicians and now has chosen to become one of them. Will people ever vote for them? I had doubts. They betrayed people’s trust, I felt. But the crowd present at the venue on Friday proved me wrong.
People at the venue, the autowallah and the women in the metro, all welcomed the step taken by Team Anna. They felt it was a logical end of the agitation. The team got huge support from people present at the venue who shouted slogans ‘Anna tum sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai’.
But will this really turn into votes? It didn’t turn for Manpreet Badal of the People’s Party of Punjab, who had offered a similar change to the people of the state in state assembly elections early this year. He was portrayed as a third option in the state which is otherwise dominated by two parties. A lot of people gathered at his rallies and promised to vote for him. But only a handful of them did.
The only difference I see is that he had been a politician who promised a change which other parties did not talk about. But these are the activists, who have been able to create an impression on the minds of people and have been able garner their support, be it at the Jantar Mantar or the Ram Lila maidan each time they sat on fast, are talking about that change.
It’s a tough road to tread for Team Anna. Apart from the Lokpal they will have to take a stand on other issues as well. But I will vote for them because they have promised to be transparent. They have promised to bring better education at less cost so that parents do not spend lakhs for admission of their children in nursery. They have promised that their manifestos will not be written in air conditioned rooms and they will hear us before making them. They said they will enter parliament not for capturing power but to change the entire system and end corruption. They said they will ask people not to vote in the name of religion and caste.
Yes I will vote them because I want a change, the change which the political parties do not even talk about. At least they are promising to bring one. I wish them good luck.