Nearly two years after they came together to lead one of the most popular anti-corruption movements of recent times, Anna Hazare and his one-time closest aide Arvind Kejriwal split on Wednesday.
“It is unfortunate that the team has separated...I will not join any party or any group. I will not go for their campaign. I will only campaign and devote my life to jan lokpal,” Hazare said after a marathon eight-hour meeting with his former colleagues.
Taking things to almost the point of no return, Hazare said India Against Corruption (IAC) should not use his name or photo during any political campaign.
Two prominent names of former team Anna, former top cop Kiran Bedi and former Karnataka lokayukta justice Santosh Hegde decided to side with Hazare, but an overwhelming majority endorsed Kejriwal’s view of forming a new political party.
Kejriwal did not speak to the media, but in his tweet after the meeting, stated, “Country is on sale. It is passing through a very difficult phase. I will do everything possible for me to save my country.”
Out of the 42 IAC members present at the meeting, 34 supported Kejriwal, including Manish Sisodia, and father-son lawyer duo Shanti and Prashant Bhushan.
Hazare rejected the online and SMS poll conducted by the IAC on the issue of forming a political party, saying “internet and Jantar Mantar cannot determine the outcome of the country”.