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Rift in Team Anna deepens, more might leave core group

Wednesday October 19, 2011 05:25:29 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Two resignations and one more in the offing? The core group behind India Against Corruption (IAC) led by Anna Hazare is likely to be whittled down further with Delhi Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao distancing himself from the movement, sources said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh and Gandhian activist P.V. Rajagopal quit the original 26-member panel citing the political activism of Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders of IAC after the campaign against the Congress in the Hisar parliamentary by-poll. Others might follow soon, it is learnt.

The archbishop, who heads the Catholic diocese here, had joined IAC to oppose corruption, a leader in the community told IANS on the condition of anonymity. "As he is the leader of a community that has its members in various parties, he may not join the propaganda for or against any political party."

The archbishop is amongst the 24 core committee members left in the IAC. He is also one of the 20 founding leaders of the IAC.

Other leaders such as Maulana Shamoom Qasmi, who is both a founding leader and a core committee member, also have reservations about the way the movement is going. Muslim religious leaders Mahmood Madani, Syed Rizvi and Syed Shah Fazlur Rahman Waizi, founding committee members, also might part ways, the sources said.

"Some of them may resign, some of them may distance themselves," a source said, adding that they had a good equation with Hazare but had differences with Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and others.

Hazare may intervene to stop the exodus.

The founding leaders' list includes social activist Swami Agnivesh, who dissociated himself a while ago. The 20 "eminent personalities" who started the movement lists two more Hindu religious leaders - Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

After the resignation of Rajendra Singh and Rajagopal, the core committee has been left with 24 members. Justice N. Santhosh Hegde, a key member, has of late not been attending meetings, an IAC official said.

Besides Bedi and Kejriwal, the other high profile faces are former law minister Shanti Bhushan, his son and lawyer Prashant Bhushan and environmentalist Medha Patkar.

Manish Sisodia, a former news producer and co-founder of the NGO Kabir that works on creating awareness on the Right to Information (RTI), is another known face.

Those leading the IAC in various states are included too. Mayank Gandhi, for instance, heads the Mumbai team, Chandramohan is from Chennai.

The other activists are Sanjay Singh from Uttar Pradesh, Dinesh Vaghela from Goa, Prithvi Reddy from Bangalore, Manipur-based Akhil Gogoi, Delhi's Swati Maliwal, Haryana's Naveen Jaihind as well as Gopal Rai and former journalist Devinder Sharma.

Asmita theatre group founder Arvind Gaur, poet Kumar Vishwas, Arjuna Award member Sunita Godara are also members as is Art of Living representative Darshak Hathi.

According to its website, the primary focus of IAC movement is to ensure a strong Lokpal bill.







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