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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Unease in Team Anna,Hazare hints at revamp

NEW DELHI, 28 OCT: Anna Hazare today hinted at expansion of his Core Committee as a sense of unease gripped his team over allegations of financial misconduct by some of its key members.

The core committee of Team Anna will be expanded soon, journalist Raju Parulekar, who is Mr Hazare's official blogger, said as two key member Ms Medha Patkar and Mr Kumar Vishwas demanded “overhaul” of the Core Committee.

He, however, declined to go into details of when and how the revamp will take place. The thinking on reconstituting the team comes ahead of the crucial meeting of the Core Committee in nearby Ghaziabad tomorrow which will not be attended by Mr Hazare, who is on a vow of silence from 16 October.

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

Parulekar also said Mr Hazare is contemplating forming a pan-India apolitical organisation to achieve his objective of a change in whole electoral system. “The new outfit would aim at not playing the game of election but to change the rule of the game of election,” Parulekar said adding “it will be an apolitical organisation.”
Though Ms Patkar and Mr Vishwas did not criticise Mrs Kiran Bedi and Mr Arvind Kejriwal, who are facing flak over the running of their NGOs and their financial integrity being questioned, they have referred to the allegations faced by the Core Committee members.

“I don't think there is a difference of opinion. The only thing is a bit of overhauling is certainly becoming necessary because there are a number of allegations and Core Committee members are being targeted,” Ms Patkar, who will not be attending tomorrow's meeting due to prior engagement, said. Another prominent member Mr Santosh Hegde will also not attend the meeting.

Mr Vishwas shot off a letter to Mr Hazare demanding suspension of the Core Committee and sought its expansion to make it more representative against the backdrop of Congress leaders targeting it.
“Such attacks (against Team Anna members) and the subsequent clarifications will strengthen the conspiracy to divert the attention from the key issues...I request you to give greater representation to the Core Committee consisting of limited members and turn it into a hard-core committee comprising of 121 crore people.
“I once again urge you to suspend the present Core Committee and create a new system to enable us to see a corruption-free new India,” Mr Vishwas, a lecturer-poet, said. He said the leaders of the ruling party were targeting Mr Hazare and each member of the Core Committee and trying to tarnish their public image and credibility.

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 and said there were no differences.

Meanwhile Mr Rajinder Singh, who quit Team Anna due to differences over its political approach, alleged that Anna Hazare deviated from his objective by supporting a “corrupt” candidate in Hisar bypoll and that his team is full of “arrogant” people.

Mr Singh also attacked Mrs Kiran Bedi and Mr Arvind Kejriwal, alleging they were the “most arrogant” members of Team Anna. Being former bureaucrats they are in the habit of throwing their weight about and imposing themselves on others, he alleged.

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.


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