Cracks within Team Anna deepened with two key members, Swami Agnivesh and former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, accusing a coterie around Anna Hazare of preventing him from ending his fast, which entered its eleventh day on Friday.
Although the signs of dissent appeared soon after Anna’s camp started negotiations with the government, the rift became public two days back when Agnivesh and Hegde castigated Team Anna for insisting on getting their way in Parliament.
Agnivesh and Hegde want Hazare to end the fast as they feel the social activist has made his point “strongly” and effectively but felt some in Team Anna had refused to budge. They feel people with extreme views are taking over the campaign.
Team Anna termed their claims as false and said Hazare had rejected Agnivesh’s attempt to be part of the negotiating team. “Annaji decided that we three (Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan) will talk with the government,” Kejriwal said.
“I feel I am not in Team Anna any more ... These (telling Parliament what to do) are not democratic things” Hegde, who was team Anna’s representative in the joint drafting committee for the Lokpal Bill, said.
Swami Agnivesh, another key member, stuck a similar note and said: “There is no reason for Anna Hazare to continue his fast. They lost a golden opportunity when the Prime Minister appealed. They didn’t end the fast.”
He added, “The initial plan did not include dictating to Parliament under what sections or what rules the bill should be discussed.
Making it clear that no consensus was being sought while making decisions in Team Anna anymore, Agnivesh said he does not know who was deciding on the new conditions. But, hinting at Kejriwal and Bedi, he said everybody knew who was running the campaign now.
Hegde, who was not as critical of Team Anna as Agnivesh, said nobody could justify giving command to the Parliament. “I have been a judge and I believe in certain democratic principles,” Hegde said.
What apparently irked him was reluctance on part of key members of Team Anna to listen to his “moderate” views. He said he wanted the campaign against corruption to continue but Hazare to end his fast. “We cannot lose a Gandhian like Hazare,” he said.