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Cracks in Team Anna? Hegde, Patkar to skip key meet

Prominent members of Team Anna, Justice Santosh Hegde and social activist Medha Patkar, will not attend the crucial core committee meeting in Ghaziabad tomorrow. The meeting has been kept to discuss the crisis the team is facing. Anna wants to change core committee: Raju Parulekar | 'Suspend core committee'

delhi Updated: Oct 28, 2011 20:25 IST

Prominent members of Team Anna, Justice Santosh Hegde and social activist Medha Patkar, will not attend the crucial core committee meeting in Ghaziabad on Saturday to discuss the present crisis. Gandhian Anna Hazare, who is on a vow of silence, will also not be present in the meeting.

The core committee meeting comes against the backdrop of allegations against key team Anna members like Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi and resignation of two prominent activists Rajinder Singh and PV Rajagopal from the team citing the political turn taken by Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

The meeting also comes amidst renewed attack on Hazare by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who alleged that the Gandhian's anti-corruption agitation as well as that of yoga guru Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravisankar were part of an over-all plan of RSS-BJP to divert attention from right-wing terror.

Team Anna has been on the backfoot with Bedi battling charges of overcharging her hosts by inflating travel bills and Kejriwal being accused of depositing donations collected for Hazare agitation against corruption in his foundation's (PCRF) account.

Team Anna is also under fire for its anti-Congress campaign in Hisar bypolls. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, another member, also triggered a controversy by advocating plebiscite in Kashmir, evoking strong opposition from Hazare and other team members.

Hazare's decision on Thursday to continue his 'maun vrat', which he started on October 16, will mean that he will not attend the core committee meeting when his team members were facing attacks and questions of probity.

In a veiled attack on key Team Anna members, Hegde said, "Anna's strength does not lie in core committee or the people's honesty in the core committee". However, he cited a prior commitment in Mumbai for not attending the meet.

Hegde said he was also keeping a watch on the controversy surrounding Kejriwal and Bedi and remarked: "It's a nice churning and 'manthan' is going on..."

Former member Rajinder Singh, meanwhile, continued his attack on Team Anna saying Hazare has deviated from his objective and his team is full of "arrogant people in which there is no room for good human beings".

Describing Bedi and Kejriwal as the "most arrogant members" of Team Anna, Singh said being former bureaucrats they are in the habit of throwing their weight about and imposing themselves on others.

Sources in Team Anna said they will discuss all issues involving the team, including the continuance of Bhushan in the team.

Hazare had earlier said the core committee will decide on the continuance of Bhushan in the team following his advocacy of plebiscite in Kashmir. The issue came to fore after the lawyer was attacked by right-wing activists in his office.

Interestingly, the core committee meeting is being held in Kejriwal's office while last time, the meeting which took place days after the attack on Bhushan, was held at his Noida residence and was chaired by his father and former law minister Shanti Bhushan.

The issue also resulted in a flip flop by Hazare who changed his stand on Bhushan at least thrice. Initially, he said the committee will decide on Bhushan's continuance, only to retract in few hours blaming media.

However, he removed the blog posting supporting Bhushan soon and later gave a TV interview only to reiterate his aversion to Bhushan's views on Kashmir. He followed it up with a blog posting which discussed his views on Kashmir.

Video: 'Anna wants to change core committee'

With PTI inputs

First Published: Oct 28, 2011 15:35 IST