New Delhi: A day after Team Anna vertically split on the question of taking a political plunge, Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said Anna Hazare's decision to part ways was "shocking" but he will always be respected "our guru".
Hazare, on his part, said the movement has separated with one going the political way but "both these routes are important".
Though both refrained from pointing fingers at each other, they held lengthy meetings with their supporters to chalk out their strategy.
"We respect Anna Hazare, he is our guru and father. Yesterday's developments came as a complete surprise. It was shocking, unbelievable, unfortunate and sad," Kejriwal told reporters here.
Hazare yesterday announced the split with Kejriwal-led group, which is going ahead with its plan to form a party, saying they should not use his name or photo for the outfit they are planning to launch.
"Anna's photograph and name are printed in our hearts. We will continue to take his blessings and touch his feet. Anna's five principles will become foundation of our party," Kejriwal said.
Hazare met his supporters, including Kiran Bedi, at Maharashtra Sadan while Kejriwal held discussions with state coordinators of the movement who are supporting the move to form a political party.
In a video message posted on Twitter, retweeted by supporters of both Hazare and Kejriwal, the 74-year-old activist said to make the country powerful, there was a need to curb corruption and ensure development.
"Now the movement has separated. One will go the political way while the other will take the movement route. Both these routes are important. The paths are different but the goals are same," Hazare said.
After the meeting chaired by Hazare, Bedi told PTI that
they are going to convene a meeting of state coordinators early next month to strengthen the movement.
"We have a plan to make, especially a state specific plan. We have to consolidate the volunteers. We are looking at a decentralised movement. There should be visibility for the movement in states. Jan Lokpal will remain the key focus. That cannot be done away with," she said.
Questioning the need for the anti-corruption movement turning political, Bedi said Hazare can unite all movements across the country and put pressure on political parties on the issue of corruption and bringing a strong Lokpal bill.
"What is the compulsion to float a party?" she asked.
Responding to Hazare's remarks that he does not go by a survey conducted through social networking sites, Kejriwal claimed that it was the veteran activist who asked them to conduct the exercise to get inputs on whether to form a party or not.
"Anna had asked us to do the survey. Using SMS and Internet was his idea," he said.
Claiming that there is a sense of urgency to change the system, he said the country was on "sale and everything is being sold out. We have challenges as well as opportunities."
There was disappiontment and anger in Kejriwal-led group over Hazare's decision to split the group though no one came on record.
Kejriwal supporters took potshots at Hazare on social networking sites like Twitter, posts which were retweeted by India Against Corruption.
One tweet read, "Anna made people aware about corruption, but doesn't say, what to do with that awareness, Going political is only logical step" while another said, "need to change the script now! Let People write the script and not few who are disconnected from people."
Another tweet blamed BJP for the split saying, "cheap politics played by BJP to kill the movement and destroy the effort to claen d political system."
Sources said hectic discussions were on in the Kejriwal faction to finalise the structure of the party and they expect to arrive at a decision by tomorrow.
Later in the evening, Kejriwal tweeted, "some people are accusing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of engineering a split between me and Anna.
That's completely wrong. I have deepest respect for him. He loves me a lot."
First Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012, 11:26