New Delhi: Further cracks have appeared in Team Anna, with a leading newspaper on Saturday quoting social activist Anna Hazare as saying that Kiran Bedi had written to him a letter claiming funds were “not being handled properly” by Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) headed by Arvind Kejriwal.
The newspaper quoted Hazare as saying, “She (Bedi) has written an email to me saying that funds are not being handled properly in Arvind’s NGO. I spoke to Arvind by phone and told him that this was wrong and must not happen henceforth.”
However, according to the report, Anna said that he had not shot off a letter to Kejriwal. But interestingly, a letter with signature similar to Anna addressed to Kejriwal is doing the rounds amongst the India Against Corruption (IAC) members.
While quoting the letter the newspaper report said, “I have received an e-mail from Kiran Bediji. She has written that it is necessary that a budget of the PCRF be prepared. The budget should have details about how much we are going to spend on different things. The money being spent on the PCRF staff is a lot. The money has been donated by public, and we must spend it carefully.”
Meanwhile, one of Team Anna’s prominent members, who designed the social media campaign for the protests, had a few days ago shot off a letter to Arvind Kejriwal questioning the way in which the anti-corruption movement has been led.
The letter by Shivendra Singh Chauhan came after a meeting at lawyer Prashant Bhushan`s residence last week over the issue of managing India Against Corruption`s Facebook page.
Kejriwal alleged that Chauhan did not believe in democracy and took decisions unilaterally regarding the social media campaign and warned that he will be "ejected" from the movement if he does not follow the decisions of Core Committee, the letter alleged.
"By what authority will you dissociate or denounce me until you conclusively prove that you own the movement and that I have ever worked against the interests of the movement? I am sure disagreement and working in the best interest of the movement, even if independently, cannot be deemed as damaging the movement," he said in the letter.
Kejriwal did not respond to a text message seeking his version.
"This is a people`s movement against corruption and most of us joined it out of our own free will and not through a formal process so there is no question of removal by a group. The movement belongs to us all and fight against corruption cannot be anybody`s monopoly but it is a herculean task where everyone can contribute in whichever way possible.
"The members of core committee were not chosen through a democratic or even a well-defined process. Annaji...you and some others would have been members of such committee by default and by virtue of their work but what about the rest?" Chauhan said in the letter.
Chauhan claimed that in January this year, Kejriwal offered him a seat in the Core Committee to which he replied that he need not be in it. "My question is, by which democratic process was I offered to be in core committee," he said.
He said it would have been democratic if a model similar to selection of Janlokpal members been adopted for selection of members to Core Committee.
Prominent Team Anna members have been absent from Hazare`s campaign for a Lokayukta in Maharashtra, indicating sharp differences within the group on the way forward.
"This would have also tested the efficacy of Janlokpal. Do you not think that you should have initiated democratic and transparent process instead of nominating members without any selection criteria and foisting them on to volunteers? With all due respect, do you not think that democracy should start with you and not after you?" Chauhan said.
He also claimed that he was then asked to attend Core Committee meetings and instructions were given that he should be intimated about such meetings.
"This was never followed, why? Did you have second thoughts on my attending these meetings and or did your team unilaterally decide that I was not to be sent any communication?" he said.
"Questions have been raised several times on criteria of selection of core committee members, and also requests have been made to incorporate Right to Reject and Right to Recall for core committee members. Why these requests have been ignored? Such requests have come from volunteers across the country. What happens to democracy here? Why selective usage of democracy?" he said.
In the meeting at Bhushan`s residence, he claimed it was alleged that posts related to Hazare do not appear on page.
Chauhan dismissed it saying Hazare`s schedule for Maharashtra tour was first posted on Facebook and twitter much before it appeared on the website, managed by Kejriwal`s team.
"So, who was ignoring Anna`s tour of Maharashtra, social network or the website managed by Kaushambi office?" he said.
This is not the first time that Chauhan wrote to Kejriwal.
In an email on September last year after Hazare`s successful Ramlila Maidan agitation, Chauhan said he had mixed feelings of gratitude and hurt as some people have been constantly "bad-mouthing me and belittling my efforts" and that he was not in the movement to "score any brownie points".