After parting ways with his one-time aide, Arvind Kejriwal, social activist Anna Hazare appears set to join hands with yoga guru Baba Ramdev for a joint anti-graft movement.
Hazare met Ramdev in the capital late on Wednesday night, barely hours after he refused to read out a joint statement at a marathon meeting with Kejriwal and other former colleagues.
Former army chief General VK Singh and former police officer Kiran Bedi were also learnt to be present at the meeting, the details of which were not available.
Bedi, who has been in favour of a joint anti-graft movement, said Hazare can unite all the movements across the country to put pressure on political parties for bringing out a strong Lokpal bill.
In his first comments after the split, Kejriwal said he regarded Hazare’s decision as “shocking, unbelievable and sad”, but he will continue to regard him as his guru.
On Hazare’s refusal to allow his photograph and name to be used for any political purpose, Kejriwal said: “Anna's photo and name are printed in our hearts. We will continue to take his blessings and touch his feet. Anna’s five principles will become the foundation of our party.”
In a video message posted on Twitter, something that was re-tweeted by supporters of both Hazare and Kejriwal, the 74-year-old activist said to make the country powerful, there was a need to curb corruption and ensure development.
“Now, the movement has separated. One will go the political way while the other will take the movement route. Both these routes are important. The paths are different but the goals are same,” Hazare said.
The veteran activist will train a new team of apolitical volunteers from across the nation before embarking on a countrywide mass awakening tour next month.