Its approach to Team Anna may have oscillated from enthusiastic support to marked coldness, but the BJP on Friday officially welcomed the social activists’ decision to explore a political alternative.
“Our Constitution allows the formation of political parties. We welcome the decision of Team Anna to enter politics. The BJP has been fighting corruption. Anyone else is also welcome to do so,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “We want the Lokpal Bill to be taken up and passed this very session.”
While observers feel Team Anna’s entry into politics may split the BJP’s votes as their urban middle class constituencies overlap, BJP leaders are putting up a brave face, saying if an anti-Congress wave strengthened, the BJP would reap the benefit and marginal players would be swept aside.
“When JP challenged Congress on corruption, he united the Opposition. When VP Singh did so in 1989, he too reached out to other Opposition parties. Team Anna’s attempt to build a separate platform may not succeed. It takes decades of sustained effort to build a political party,” said a BJP leader.
Party chief Nitin Gadkari told a news channel that Team Anna couldn’t be an alternative to the BJP. He added the party would help Hazare if he sought its help.
Keen not to allow its anti-graft plank from being hijacked by Team Anna after the political turn, the BJP insisted that the Congress — which had ruled the country for about 55 out of 65 years — was “responsible” for the “stinking corruption”.
Members of Team Anna at Jantar Mantar on Friday (UNI photo)
While one central BJP leader saw a deliberate socialist turn in the movement in the last few days, another said “anarchist” elements were running it.
Don’t regret the meeting: Khurshid
Law minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said he did not regret his secret meeting with Anna Hazare held on June 23 at Pune, but was sad that nothing came out of it. “It was a sane conversation... unfortunately nothing could come out of it.”
Khurshid was responding to questions on his article in the Tehelka weekly.
In the article, he said Anna insisted on bringing all government servants under lokpal, establishment of lokpal and lokayuktas and the need for a Citizens Charter.
“During the meeting, I explained that we had already taken care of these,” he wrote. He also said Hazare wanted a written assurance. - HTC