New Delhi: Days after its much publicised
agitation in Mumbai and Delhi fizzled out, Team Anna appears
to be confused on how to take forward the fight for a strong
Lokpal saying the movement is at "crossroads" and a wrong
decision at this stage can prove disastrous for it.
Though it chose to bring BJP under the line of fire for
admitting tainted politicians like Babu Singh Kushwaha into
its fold to blunt criticism of being anti-Congress, it did not
spare Congress claiming that Anna Hazare felt cheated by the
Prime Minister and the seniormost leadership on Lokpal issue.
With Hazare indisposed and calling off his agitation
plans as well as his tour of five poll-bound states to
campaign against Congress, it was prominent Team Anna member
Arvind Kejriwal who aired the team`s views in an article
saying that they were conscious that a wrong decision at
this stage for the movement.
"The anti-corruption movement is at the crossroads today.
Where do we go from here? We are conscious that a wrong
decision at this stage could prove disastrous for the
movement. I met Anna in hospital two days back," he said.
Kejriwal`s views in public came a week after an ailing
Hazare called off his Mumbai fast mid-way and future agitation
plans, including jail bharo agitation.
On the advice of doctors, Hazare has also decided not to
go ahead with the tour of five states to campaign against
Congress for "cheating" people on the Lokpal issue.
He also sought to puncture allegations that they are
anti-Congress by attacking BJP for admitting Kushwah, accused
of corruption, into its fold saying how can they support a
party which admits the likes of him.
"If we do not go for the tour of election-bound states,
what should we do? Should Anna go for another fast? But the
government has already indicated that if people participating
in the movement don`t translate into votes, they don`t care,"
The poor public response to Hazare`s agitation in Mumbai
and Delhi in the last week of December and taunts from the
Congress and some other leaders appears to be weighing heavily
on the minds of Team Anna.
"Some have suggested we should form our own party. But we
neither have the will nor the capacity. This is a people`s
movement. The movement was successful because thousands
participated. The people should now suggest the way ahead,"
A Team Anna member said following Kejriwal`s article Team
Anna has received around 1,000 emails from across the country
Kejriwal said Hazare was "deeply" hurt and feeling
"cheated" at the way the government treated the issue.
"If the Prime Minister and the seniormost leadership were
to cheat the nation like this, where is the hope for our
country? If Parliamentarians were to behave like the way some
of them did, what is the future for our country ?" Kejriwal
quoted Hazare as saying when he met the activist in a Pune
hospital early this week.
Defending Team Anna`s attack on Congress, Kejriwal said
Hazare was surprised when the Standing Committee submitted its
Out of 34 amendments suggested, the committee had
accepted just one of providing Constitutional status to Lokpal
and that was the first time when Hazare blamed Rahul Gandhi,
"We were privately assured that the committee was not the
final word and our concerns would be addressed in the Bill. The
Bill that was presented in Parliament is not only weak and
ineffective, it is dangerous and would further weaken our
already compromised anti-corruption systems.
"...earlier, we were fighting for a strong Lokpal Bill.
Today, we are fighting for stopping this one from being
passed. This Bill should be withdrawn and replaced with a
completely different one," Kejriwal said.
Admitting that they were in back-channel talks with the
government in December, Kejriwal said, "in our last meeting,
they almost challenged - `You can`t hurt us electorally. We
will win. We will form the government and make laws. You carry
on with your movement and fasts`.
"This means if any people`s movement can`t hurt them
electorally, they don`t care. That`s dangerous. What should we
do now? Should we campaign against Congress or UPA? Some
people are objecting - why has this anti-corruption campaign
"My response is - haven`t we been pushed to the corner?
We are certainly not anti-Congress. Why should we be? All
those who were looking for a hidden agenda have miserably
failed," he said.
Claiming that they were being accused of being pro-BJP,
he said if they were anti-Congress, they would not be talking
to them and engaging with them all this while.
"Some people have created an atmosphere in the country
that if you are anti-Congress, you are pro-BJP. There is no
middle space. If someone called us anti-Congress today, we
could still accept that charge with some reservations as we
have been pushed to the corner.
"There is absolutely no evidence of our being pro-BJP .
In fact, the evidence indicates to the contrary. Due to the
report of Justice Santosh Hegde, who happens to be one of our
key core committee members, the BJP CM of Karnataka had to
resign. How could we support a party which admits the likes of
Kushwaha in its folds?"