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HindustanTimes Thu,30 Oct 2014

Team Anna forced to rethink plan

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 29, 2011
First Published: 01:15 IST(29/12/2011) | Last Updated: 01:23 IST(29/12/2011)

Team Anna tried to put up a brave front on Wednesday, but their faces reflected their disappointment. Things have not gone the way they planned and they have been forced to reconsider their future plan of action.

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With Lok Sabha clearing lokpal Bill on Tuesday night, the lukewarm response to the agitation in Mumbai and Anna Hazare's deteriorating health, Team Anna was compelled to call off the three-day stir on the second day.

The low turnout raised doubts about the success of the follow-up stirs - the Jail Bharo Andolan and the dharnas outside the houses of politicians opposing jan lokpal. These agitations, too, have been called off.

"Considering my bad health and the negative picture from Parliament, I decided to end my fast and the jail bharo campaign. But the struggle has only begun," said Anna, addressing the crowd at the Bandra-Kurla Complex grounds. "The next aim would be to travel to all five states due for elections now and make people aware. After two years, there will be Lok Sabha elections and I will travel nationally."

A change in strategy seems the best bet. Team Anna needs to run through the things that have gone wrong, and this includes the fact that none of the Opposition parties, especially the BJP, supported their version of lokpal. "Being the ruling party, it was the responsibility of the Congress to get jan lokpal Bill passed. We will campaign against them," said core committee member Arvind Kejriwal. But beyond that, Anna's core team seems confused about what to do next.

On ground zero, there was a division of voices - some said if Anna did not fast for three days, it would be seen as failure, while others said drawing crowds for one more day with no specific agenda would be difficult. Team Anna denied there were any difference of opinion. "We were all concerned about Anna's health and had been appealing to him to break his fast," said Kejriwal. "But yes, we agree there is a need to re-strategise. But the pressure will increase."


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