Anna Hazare supporters split over political move

Anna Hazare’s decision to turn the movement into a political alternative seems to have divided his supporters, with many opposed to the move.

Many in the erstwhile Team may not join the political party. Hazare’s associates are planning to build to provide an alternative to the current politics.

And, in a bid to boost the morale of Anna’s supporters, Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sent a letter to anti-graft volunteers across the country defending the move, which admitted that there was huge opposition to the change in strategy.

The opponents of the decision to enter politics feel betrayed. “Core committee never discussed the issue,” complained Dr Sunilam, noted farmers’ leader and former MLA in Madhya Pradesh.

He said he resigned from the Samajwadi Party to join the anti-graft movement. “If I had to remain in electoral politics, I would have continued in SP,” he remarked.

Core issues

When asked about the decision of the core committee to jump into electoral politics, Narmada Bachao leader Medha Patkar, who is in Delhi to campaign against the Land Acquisition Bill to be tabled during the monsoon session of Parliament, quipped: “We should concentrate on core issues.”

Justice (rtd) N Santosh Hegde, one of the key members of the movement when it began, was among the first to have disapproved the campaign to go political. Many others have begun echoing his view.

Senior members like RTI activist from Assam Akhil Gogoi and Mayank Gandhi from Mumbai have complained of not being consulted before the decision was arrived at. 

However, the new team comprising Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia, Kiran Bedi, Sanjay Singh and Yogendra Yadav which is in favour of forming a political party are receiving support from activists like Magasasay  Award winner Sandip Pandey or senior social activist Prafulla Samantra, says an insider. 

Associates of Anna Hazare, who were disappointed by the lack of support for their fast last week are now hoping for their icon to reignite the massive support the movement witnessed in the last year, during his projected tour of the country.

In his letter addressed to volunteers, Kejriwal admitted that decision of going political did not go down well with many of the anti-graft activists. “Many of our co-activists are deeply hurt by this decision,” he said.

“Some of them have sent us e-mail and SMS to accuse us of deception and selling out the movement,” he said. Kejriwal has also revealed that though people started gathering at Jantar Mantar, people’s anger and energy exhibited at earlier fasts was not visible in other parts of the country.

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