BJP hails Anna's move, but leaders are cautious

  • Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2012 15:23 IST
  • Anna supporters

    Social activist Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, former Army chief Gen VK Singh and others wave to supporters at Jantar Mantar in New Dehi . (UNI ...

  • Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal,VK Singh

    Anna Hazare along with Arvind Kejriwal and former Army chief Gen VK Singh gesture at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. (Photo By Virendra Singh Gosain/ Hindustan ...

  • IAC volunteers prepare meal

    IAC volunteers prepare food for protesters and activists during a protest by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

  • Anna Hazare

    Social activist Anna Hazare ended his six-day long fast at Jantar Mantar, announcing the launch of a political party. Photo by Mohd Zakir / Hindustan ...

  • Hanuman shows his support

    A man dresse as lord Hanuman show his support for Anna Hazare who ended his six-day long fast in New Delhi today. Photo by Mohd ...

  • Gandhi show

    A man dressed as Gandhi shows his support for Anna Hazare who ended his six-day long fast in New Delhi, today. Photo by Mohd Zakir / ...

  • Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal

    Social activist Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal break their fast at Jantar Mantar in New Dehi. (UNI Photo)

  • VK Singh, Anna Hazare

    Former Army chief Gen VK Singh offers a glass of water to Anna Hazare who ended his six-day long fast in New Delhi . Photo ...

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


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