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Team Anna core group stays, warns Congress on Lokpal bill

Saturday October 29, 2011 08:12:24 PM, IANS

Ghaziabad: Conveying a sense of unity after a series of controversies dogged key members, Team Anna Saturday declared that its core committee will not be disbanded and threatened to campaign against the Congress during the upcoming assembly polls if a strong Lokpal bill was not passed in parliament's winter session.

Team Anna also termed its decision of opposing the Congress in Hisar Lok Sabha bypoll as "correct and successful".

"There is no question of the core committee being disbanded. The government is attacking the core committee which will be strongly replied to. We will not allow attention to be diverted from Jan Lokpal bill," team member Arvind Kejriwal said after a five-hour meeting of the core committee in this suburban town near Delhi.

The core committee had passed a unanimous resolution which rejected charges that the donations given to the movement had been wrongly placed with Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), an organisation linked to him, he said.

"This movement to get Jan Lokpal bill passed is a movement of crores of people being led by Anna Hazare. Core committee members and volunteers have played a prominent role along with crores of people of the country. Hence, there is no reason to disband the core committee," Kejriwal said reading out the decisions taken by the core committee.

Attacking the government, Kejriwal said it was aiming to distract attention from the issue of Jan Lokpal bill and damaging the image of the movement by using official machinery to attack core committee members.

He said the core committee had fully supported the decision to make Lokpal bill an issue in the Hisar Lok Sabha bypoll. "It cannot be surmised from the decision that the movement is against Congress or in favour of any party," he said.

"Because the Congress did not give a letter of support though it has the maximum accountability as leading party of the ruling coalition at the centre... hence we were forced to take initiative to oppose its candidate," Kejriwal said, adding that all members present at the meeting endorsed the decision.

Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Oct 10 letter to Hazare assuring the government's commitment to a strong Lokpal bill, Kejriwal said if the letter had come earlier, there probably would not have been the need to campaign against the Congress.

"The government should realise its responsibility and get the Jan Lokpal bill passed in the winter session of Parliament. If this does not happen, the movement will have to adopt the same strategy (of opposing Congress) in elections to five states," he said.

Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur are states expected to go to the polls early next year.

Kejriwal said PCRF has been discharging responsibility of being secretariat to the movement and running its accounts from October 2010.

"The details of donations and its entire expense are available on the website of the movement," he said.

Kejriwal said he and Prashant Bhushan will proceed to Ralegan Siddhi Saturday evening to meet Hazare, who is on a vow of silence.

Answering queries, Kejriwal said Kumar Vishwas, Medha Patkar, and Justice Santosh Hegde were not present at the meeting.

Kejriwal said former members of the core committee - Rajendra Singh and P.V. Rajagopal - should not have gone to the media with their resignations and Kumar Vishwas with his letter to Hazare in which he demanded that the core committee be suspended and expanded to make it more representative.

Bhushan said a decision had been taken in Ralegan Siddhi to expand the core panel and it will be done in a structured way in the future.

"For the present, this core committee will work," he said.

Kejriwal said anti-corruption agitation was a people's movement and targeting of core committee members by the government will backfire.

Asked about the controversy surrounding Kiran Bedi over inflated invoices of her travel bills, Kejriwal said the members felt it was not corruption.

Bedi has said that the difference of money between economy and business class air tickets went to a NGO she heads and was used for travel at places where the organisers could not afford to pay the tickets.
 

 


 




 

 

 

 

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