In disarray, Team looks to Anna for guidance

Medha skips meeting, writes to the Team not to target Congress

In disarray, Team looks to Anna for guidance

In a clear indication of confusion clouding the thinking of Team Anna, the core committee of the India Against Corruption (IAC) that met here on Monday failed to resolve the key issues facing it, leaving it to Anna Hazare to decide the future course.

The first meeting of the team that has been conducting the country-wide anti-graft movement, met in the background of dwindling crowds both in Mumbai where Hazare staged an aborted fast, or at the Ramlila ground in Delhi in the last week of December where some Team Anna members staged day-long fasts for two days.

The mounting uneasiness among the supporters of the movement over the direction it is taking, which has been articulated in blogs, came out in the open on Monday, with a key member of the core committee, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, writing to it stop targeting any single political party, lest the movement be labelled as supporting a particular party.

The meeting had many discomfiting questions facing it - including the declining support for its movement as evidenced by the lack of enthusiasm for the December programme, the increasing criticism in the media of the aggressive posture struck by certain Anna members, the failure of Team Anna to capitalise on the government’s failure to pass the Lokpal Bill before the winter session of Parliament concluded, and its own lack of clarity about its future straategy.

The confusion had been encapsulated in a recent media article written by Team member Kejriwal.

Although 15 of the Team Anna members took part in the meeting minus Hazare who is recuperating at his village Ralegan Siddi, from a recent illness that saw cut short his “indefinite fast” at the MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai, significant absentees included Kiran Bedi who cited “personal commitments” and Medha Patkar, who stayed away from the meeting and made no bones about her differences over the Team’s tactics.

“Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kumar Vishwas will go to Hazare on Tuesday to have his opinion on various issues,” said the Team spokespersons after the meeting. The discussion with Anna will include: immediate issue of campaigning in five-poll bound States including Uttar Pradesh.

“The final decision will be announced only after that,” said spokesperson Ashwathi Muralidharan. The issues that came up before the committee was not limited to campaigning during polls, but touched such wider issues as the future direction of  anti-graft movement. The meeting was attended by about 15 members of the Core Committee of IAC including Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, and Arvind Gaur.

Medha’s letter

In her letter to IAC, Medha Patkar demanded radical changes in the direction of the movement. She not only criticised the stand of targeting the Congress and holding it solely responsible for not passing the Lokpal Bill, but also suggested an alternative programme for ensuing polls.

She suggested that political parties be pressured not to give tickets to tainted persons. Instead of targeting any particular party, the anti-graft movement should campaign among the people to elect clean candidates of any party.

In her long letter, Patkar has said the institution of Lokpal alone would not end corruption. She pleaded for widening of the movement by including issues like “anti-people economic polices” and “anti-people legislation”.

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