Hazare’s Lokpal ‘aam aadmi’ team for Delhi satyagraha not party to politics
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Hazare’s Lokpal ‘aam aadmi’ team for Delhi satyagraha not party to politics

Core team asked to sign affidavit committing to not join a political party or stand for elections

pune Updated: Feb 18, 2018 23:51 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Anna Hazare,Lokpal,satyagraha
Anna Hazare will launch an agitation over the Lokpal bill in New Delhi on March 23.(HT)

Pune Veteran anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare began his preparations for the March 23 protest in New Delhi by asking a core committee he is forming, to issue a written undertaking that no member will join a political party or contest any elections in the future.

Hazare’s protest, being billed as a “satyagraha” by him, is against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi-led government over the Lokpal, or anti-graft watchdog, bill.

Upset over the non-appointment of a Lokpal for the last four years, Hazare picked March 23, Martyrs’ Day, to launch the satyagraha with a 20-member core team preparing for the same.

“For the planning of the protest in Delhi, a core committee has been formed. Those who have submitted an affidavit saying they will not join any political party or contest elections in future, have been given an opportunity in the committee, after vetting their personal details,” an anti-graft activist close to Hazare said, requesting anonymity at this point in time.

“The 20 members chosen for the core committee have been selected from various parts of the country,” Hazare said, adding, “The first meeting will be held at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi on February 25. The meeting will be centered on strategy and individual responsibilities.”

Hazare’s insistence on the affidavit points to past experience when leaders like Arvind Kejriwal joined the Lokpal agitation in 2011-2012, but then, subsequently, parted ways with Hazare, launching a political outfit going on to become chief minister of Delhi.

Hazare now wants to ensure the new team of volunteers keep his Lokpal agitation moving forward. Like in the past, Hazare has also ensured that his new team will have new faces.

Dr Vishwambhar Choudhari, who was part of Hazare’s core team during the 2011 agitation, said the affidavit can just be a precautionary measure. “While he has chosen to take precautions, implementation is difficult. It should mostly be on a mutual trust basis,” said Choudhari, who isn’t part of Hazare’s new team.

Plans are to expand the committee to around 45 members in the second phase, just before the protest. The protest aims to get the government to appoint the Lokpal.

Hazare’s 2011 Lokpal agitation against the then Congress-led UPA government included a hunger strike. Riddled with allegations of graft, the Congress was eventually decimated in the 2014 general election.

First Published: Feb 18, 2018 23:51 IST