Will Anna float party? Asks India to decide in 48 hours
Anna Hazare and his team members on Thursday announced they were calling off their indefinite fast against corruption at 5pm today and said they would seek a referendum on forming a "political alternative". HT reports.Team Anna to go political | Anna at Jantar Mantardelhi Updated: Aug 03, 2012 08:20 IST
For keeping the anti-graft movement alive, Team Anna has come up with a fresh plan - providing a "secular political alternative" to the people in the 2014 general elections.
But since social activist Hazare stopped short of announcing his own political outfit, it led to some confusion over what was it that Team Anna wanted to achieve.
On whether it should float a new political party, the social activists sought the opinion of their supporters and the public, requesting them to respond in two days.
"At the moment we are talking about an electoral revolution in which our exact role will evolve in the coming days," said Hazare associate Prashant Bhushan.
For now, Team Anna stated it was keeping all options open, including supporting individual candidates with a clean track-record or even backing some particular front which stood for its agenda.
On a day of fast-paced developments, Hazare - faced with the failing health of his three colleagues on the ninth day of their indefinite fast and with no chance of the government initiating a dialogue with him unlike the previous two occasions - turned his announcement into an exit strategy to end the fast on Friday evening.
"It is time for us to think of an alternative. We want a political alternative. But I will not launch or join a party. People should decide who should be given tickets," he said amid loud cheering and slogan-shouting at a jam-packed Jantar Mantar.
Hazare's key aide Arvind Kejriwal made it clear that providing a political alternative did not necessarily mean they would have to launch their own political party.
The political class was guarded in its response and adopted a wait-and-watch policy, but the government appeared to be satisfied with its strategy of not engaging with Hazare, which ultimately led him to end the fast on his own.
"We are glad they have announced that they will call off the fast. We have always said that these people seemed inspired by politics… They will now understand the difficulties," said information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.
Though it was clear that this latest round of indefinite fast would end with an announcement giving a political colour to the movement, it was pre-empted with an appeal from 23 eminent citizens, including the former army chief VK Singh.
"We call upon Anna Hazare and his associates to give up on their expectations from this establishment. We call upon them to focus their energies on creating an alternative political force," stated the appeal, signed among others by former Supreme Court judges VR Krishna Iyer and Santosh Hegde and former chief election commissioner JM Lyngdoh.
Kher asks Kejriwal to break fast
Anna at Jantar Mantar