Rift in Team Anna on Bhushan, members dismayed

Hazare`s latest position that the Core Committee of his campaign will meet and decide whether Bhushan will continue in his team or not has surprised the other Team Anna members.

Ralegan Siddhi/New Delhi: Notwithstanding
Anna Hazare`s clarification on the status of Prashant Bhushan
in his anti-corruption struggle, serious differences appeared
to have cropped up in Team Anna on some important issues
facing his campaign.

Hazare`s latest position that the Core Committee of his
campaign will meet and decide whether Bhushan will continue in
his team or not has surprised the other Team Anna members,
sources said today.

In two days, Hazare has changed his stand on Bhushan, who
is in the eye of the storm for his advocacy of plebiscite in
Jammu and Kashmir, thrice, much to the dismay of some of his
team members.

74-year-old Hazare had on Friday noon said that the
continuance of Bhushan will be decided soon, only to retract
following a meeting of Core Committee which met in New Delhi.

Though he did not attend the meeting, the members were in
constant touch with him and Hazare issued a clarification in
his blog, blaming "some negative forces" in media for
spreading lies in his name.

However, the blog posting disappeared within hours,
without giving any reasons.

Bhushan had kicked off a controversy through his advocacy
of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. The issue came to fore
after three youths attacked him in his office in New Delhi
last week.

The real shocker for some of the key members came when
Hazare told a TV channel last night, "I am against anybody who
talks about dividing the country. I am very uncomfortable with
what Bhushan has said. Our core committee will meet to decide
on his continuing as a team member. After it meets. I will
take a decision."

With this, Hazare went back to his original stand of
distancing himself from Bhushan`s remarks on Kashmir.

Arvind Kejriwal, who had held a press conference on Friday
to announce the decision of the Core Committee that Bhushan
remains an integral part of Team Anna, was in Ralegan Siddhi
during the weekend to hold meetings with Hazare and the
sources said the Gandhian did not discuss with Kejriwal that
he was changing his stand on Bhushan.

Kejriwal was not available for comment.
Interestingly, soon after the interview Hazare went on a
`maun vrat`.

A key member of Team Anna said if Hazare decides to expel
Bhushan from his team, it would be unfortunate.

Hazare has also tweaked his campaign against Congress,
saying he will work with Congress across the country if the
UPA government brings a strong Lokpal Bill in the Winter
session of Parliament and keeps its words on other reforms.

Hazare has also decided to wait till the end of Winter
Session to embark on a `yatra` in Uttar Pradesh, contrary to
the earlier decision of hitting the streets against Congress
in the state soon after Dusshera.

The decision to embark on the UP yatra was taken last
month and was announced publicly. However, the anti-Congress
campaign was criticised by some quarters.

The sources said his close aides in Ralegan Siddhi have
managed to convince him to tone down his anti-Congress

"A number of Congress leaders have visited him here. They
are in touch with him. Some senior leaders are in telephonic
contact," they said.

Hazare has also found fault with Kejriwal for saying that
he was above Parliament.

"Kejriwal has not told me what he has said. But if he did
say Anna is above Parliament, it`s wrong. People are above
Parliament, not Anna," he said.


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