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Anna disbands Team Anna, leaders perplexed

Monday August 06, 2012 08:02:49 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Team Anna has been disbanded and the work that had started in its name has ended, its leader Anna Hazare announced Monday, three days after the group announced that it would join the political mainstream to further its fight against corruption.

Hazare, whose declaration through his blog appeared to take even senior leaders of Team Anna by surprise, added that the anti-corruption movement would remain alive and he would work to provide a "political alternative" to serve the people.

Kiran Bedi, former police officer and a key Team Anna member, tweeted: "Read Anna's blog. Do not know what all it means. For we all had very useful preparatory meeting with Annaji wherein he gave useful guidance."

In Bangalore, N. Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court judge, told a news channel that he was surprised by the decision to disband the group.

"I was against the poliltical move... feel sorry for the reason that the movement started by Anna for a strong Lokpal was need of the hour.

"It (the movement) had progressed sufficiently and controversy or difference of opinion in regard to whether Team Anna should contest elections or not is unfortunate and which must have led to Anna disbanding the team," he said.

Others appeared perplexed.

"Annaji has written everything in the blog; there is nothing to add, for more information regarding the decision only Anna can talk," Manish Sisodia, amongst those fasting along with Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Gopal Rai for a stringent anti-graft Jan Lokpal bill in Jantar Mantar last week, told IANS.

After the virtual bombshell, Hazare refused to talk to the media. The 75-year-old, who flew back to Pune, will be back here to join yoga guru Baba Ramdev's protest against black money Aug 9.

"Today we end the work of Team Anna," he said in his blog, written in Hindi. He also admitted that he had been criticised by many people after the Aug 3 announcement of a political alternative.

"Team Anna was formed to work for the Jan Lokpal. We have decided not to keep any relations with the government. So the work that started in Team Anna's name has ended here and the Team Anna committee also ends here."

Hazare, who said he would be travelling across the country to awaken people, added: "Despite repeated agitations, the government is not ready to pass the Jan Lokpal bill. We will have to find good candidates and give an alternative to the people. This is a good way, I think so, but how will it happen is the question.

"We have to see people's response because Jantar Mantar is not India," he said.

He also proposed a kind of a referendum on the political alternative, saying activists would seek the opinion of 6.5 lakh gram sabhas, or village councils, on whether they would support such a move.

Hazare said he would "not join the system but will support it from outside". If he did decide to support a political alternative, he said he "should be sure that no corrupt person has reached parliament".

The sudden decision saw similar reactions from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"Anna himself doesn't have confidence in his team, that is the reason he has taken this decision. But it is up to him to take any decision," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said it was "bound to happen" and everyone had the right to fight elections.

Author Chetan Bhagat, who was supporting the cause, said: "Just because you are passionate about a cause does not make up for the lack of negotiation and leadership skills."

As the controversy swirled, India Against Corruption (IAC) media coordinator Aswathi Muralidharan said: "Annaji had conducted a brief meeting yesterday (Sunday) with the team members.

"All the Team Anna members were kept in the loop on the decision to disband the Team Anna."





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