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Dissent in Team Anna

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2011 00:02 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Cracks appeared in Team Anna with two key members, Swami Agnivesh and former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hedge, accusing a coterie around Anna Hazare of preventing him from ending his fast.

Although the signs of dissent appeared soon after Team Anna started negotiations with the government, it came out in open in the last two days with both of them castigating Team Anna for insisting their way in the Parliament.

They wanted Hazare to end his fast as he had made his point "strongly" and effectively but others in Team Anna refused to budge. And, there was a feeling that people with extreme views have taken over the campaign.

Team Anna termed their claims as false and said Hazare rejected their 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," he said.

"I feel I am not in team Anna any more by the way things are going. These (telling Parliament what to do) are not democratic things" Hedge, 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 when he said: "There is no reason for Anna Hazare to continue his fast. They lost a golden opportunity when the Prime Minister Parliament appeal. They didn't end the fast."

When Prime Minister made an appeal to Anna Hazare on Wednesday to end his fast, Agnivesh wanted Hazare to end his fast. But, apparently some other members resisted saying the "golden opportunity" would be missed to pressurize the government to accept their Jan Lokpal bill.

Agnivesh resisted and said that was not the motive behind the entire campaign. "The initial plan did not include dictating to Parliament under what sections or what rules the bill should be discussed," the social activist said.

Making it clear that decisions in team Anna were not of consensus anymore, Agnivesh said he does not know who were deciding on the new conditions. But, pointed the finger at Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi saying that everybody knows who is running the campaign now.

Hedge, who was not as critical of Team Anna as Agnivesh, said nobody can justify giving command to the Parliament. "I have been a judge and I believe in certain democratic principles," was what Hedge had to say even though he had claimed that he will sit on fast with Hazare once he retired as Lokayukta of Karnataka, which he did on August 2.

What had apparently irked him was reluctance on part of key team Anna members to listen to his "moderate" views. He wants that the campaign against corruption should continue but Hazare should immediately end his fast. "We cannot lose a Gandhian like Hazare," he said.