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Lokpal Bill: Cracks appear in Team Anna

Last Updated: Friday, August 26, 2011 - 23:48

New Delhi: There were growing signs of differences within the Anna Hazare camp over the continuance of Gandhian`s fast with Justice Santosh Hegde on Friday joining another associate, Agnivesh, in saying that the hunger strike should be called off now.

Hegde, also member of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill, strongly disapproved of Hazare`s insistence on "having his way" in Parliament, saying "I feel I am not in Team Anna any more by the way things are going. These (telling Parliament what to do) are not democratic things."

Asking Hazare to call off his fast that entered the 11th day on Friday, Agnivesh also made it clear that any appearance of threats to Parliament is not becoming of a Gandhian.

"This is some sort of...seen as a threat to Parliament `you do it by tomorrow or day after`. This is not becoming of a Gandhian fast or a moment.. So this was the right moment to call it off," Agnivesh said.

Vinod Mehta, editor-in-chief of Outlook Magazine, also attacked the "a coterie" within Team Anna, accusing them of "playing with the life" of the Gandhian to press absurd demands.

"I condemn this dangerous game they are playing in the name of people`s power. All right thinking people should speak up against the coterie which is leading Anna Hazare and the nation to collision course," he said.

Appealing to Hazare to end his fast in view of government`s decision to discuss Jan Lokpal in Parliament, former Chief Justice of India J S Verma said continuation of Gandhian`s fast may not appear "reasonable".

"In my view, there is no justification at least now for the continuance of the fast undertaken by Hazare and I appeal to him to end his fast forthwith in keeping with the national sentiments and concern for his health."
Verma had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to discuss the drafts already prepared by sections of civil society and in the public domain, including those by the Team Anna and the Aruna Roy team as the first step to end the imbroglio.

Actress and social activist Shabana Azmi has also asked Anna to end his fast, saying that insisting on the Jan Lokpal Bill was not right.

"Anna`s call against corruption has taken the shape of a movement and he has made a point, but insisting on Jan Lokpal Bill is not right as the supremacy of Parliament in a democracy cannot be challenged," she said.


First Published: Friday, August 26, 2011 - 23:48

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