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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Crucial Team Anna meeting tomorrow

NEW DELHI, 28 OCT: Key figures of Anna Hazare's team will meet in Ghaziabad tomorrow sans the Gandhian, who is on a vow of silence, to discuss the crisis facing the team after they were enmeshed in a series of controversies.

Besides Mr Hazare, prominent member Mr Justice Santosh Hegde is also not attending the Core Committee meeting to be held at the office of Arvind Kejriwal-headed Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF) in Kaushambi in UP's Ghaziabad.

The Core Committee meeting comes against the backdrop of a series of allegations against key members like Mr Kejriwal and Mrs Kiran Bedi as well as resignation of two prominent activists Mr Rajinder Singh and Mr PV Rajagopal citing the political turn taken by Mr Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

The meeting also comes amidst a renewed attack on Mr Hazare by Congress leader Mr Digvijay 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 Mrs Bedi battling charges of overcharging her hosts by inflating travel bills and Mr Kejriwal being accused of depositing donations collected for Mr Hazare agitation against corruption in PCRF as well as its anti-Congress campaign in Hisar bypolls.

Lawyer Mr Prashant Bhushan, another member, also triggered a controversy by advocating plebiscite in Kashmir, evoking strong opposition from Mr Hazare and other team members.

Mr Hazare's decision yesterday to continue his 'maun vrat', which he started on 16 October, 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, Mr Hegde said: “Anna's strength does not lies 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.

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

Former member Mr Rajinder Singh, meanwhile, continued his attack on Team Anna saying Mr 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 Mrs Bedi and Mr Kejriwal as the “most arrogant members” of Team Anna, Mr 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 Mr Bhushan in the team.

Mr Hazare had earlier said the Core Committee will decide on the continuance of Mr 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 Mr Kejriwal's office while last time, the meeting which took place days after the attack on Mr Bhushan, was held at his Noida residence and was chaired by his father and former law minister Mr Shanti Bhushan.

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

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


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