The men and the woman behind Team AnnaAugust 28th, 2011 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS
Anna Hazare has become a powerful brand for people-driven change. But a brand is not built in isolation. It took, amongst others, the father-son due of a former law minister and an activist lawyer, a former police officer and an income tax officer-turned RTI activist to power the 24×7 Anna Hazare show that fired the nation’s imagination like no other. These five people were part of his ‘inner circle’ of advisers:
1) Arvind Kejriwal: Hazare’s right-hand man, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur, was additional commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi, at the young age of 27 before he turned against the establishment. Founder of Parivartan, a Delhi-based NGO pushing for transparent governance, the 43-year-old’s tireless crusade educating people about the Right to Information Act won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emerging Leadership in 2006.
2) Shanti Bhushan: One of the two legal brains behind Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal campaign, 86-year-old Shanti Bhushan has been in the news for advocating reforms of higher judiciary. He, along with his son Prashant Bhushan, set up Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Judicial Reform (CJAR). As law minister in the Morarji Desai government, he introduced the Lokpal bill in parliament in 1977. He was also co-chairman of the joint committee set in April 2011 for the Jan Lokpal Bill and played a key role in brokering a compromise that led to the parliament agreeing in principle to Hazare’s key demands.
3) Prashant Bhushan: Better known for filing public interest litigation (PIL), taking up diverse issues from environmental violations to corruption, the bespectacled lawyer was in the small team that co-drafted the Jan Lokpal bill. Bhushan, 57, shot into the limelight for a PIL filed by him that led to unearthing of the multi-million dollar scandal in the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum. He has been a key confidant of Hazare and part of his negotiating team with the government.
4) Kiran Bedi: India’s first female police officer, Bedi hit the headlines in the early 1980s when she got prime minister Indira Gandhi’s car towed away for a parking violation. Known as a no-nonsense officer who instilled both fear and discipline in her men, she undertook sweeping reforms in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and is part of the trio, along with Prashant Bhushan and Kejriwal, who have been negotiating with the government over the Lokpal bill. She drew adverse attention by her theatrics on the Ramlila stage and was criticised for mocking MPs and the way they made fool of those who elected them.
5) Medha Patkar: The woman who led the Narmada Bachao Andolan, espousing the rights of those displaced by the construction of the Narmada and other large dams. In 1991, she undertook a three-week fast against the Sardar Sarovar dam that brought her almost close to death. That year, she won the Right Livelihood Award along with Baba Amte. Patkar was a late entrant to the Anna cause. A postgraduate in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Patkar has been an outspoken and hardline member of the movement.
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Tags: alumnus, anna hazare, arvind kejriwal, bhushan, confidant, iit kharagpur, indian institute of technology, inner circle, joint committee, judicial accountability, judicial reform, kiran, law minister, morarji desai, negotiating team, public interest litigation, ramon magsaysay award, right hand man, right to information act, tireless crusade