Team Anna set to fight elections, ends fast
Though the Government acted tough and did not concede the demand for passing Lokpal Bill, Team Anna called off the fast at Jantar Mantar on Friday evening and also announced plans for fighting the elections.
Moments after the ending of the fast, came the news that Lokpal issue won’t be debated in the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning shortly as a Rajya Sabha panel was still going through the merits of suggestions from different quarters in this regard.
It was a frail Arvind Kejriwal who took the mike and announced that the people will decide the agenda and candidates for the party that will take on the Congress and the BJP. Indicating steps towards forming a political party, Team Anna on Friday announced launching of a "movement" and putting up candidates in the 2014 elections.
"This is not a party. It will be a movement from the street to Parliament. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund it," Arvind Kejriwal said. He was addressing supporters of Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar before they ended the protest.
However, Anna Hazare said he will neither launch a political party nor contest elections. "I will go around the country for the next two years. We have another two years left (for the elections) and I will awaken the people," he said. Justifying formation of a political outfit, Mr. Hazare said that earlier when they started the movement political parties taunted them saying you contest elections and come to Parliament. “Now when we announce that we are taking the political plunge the same parties are feeling threatened,” he said. . Hazare said he was encouraged by the fact that people like former Army Chief Gen V K Singh have extended support to the civil society movement.
Speaking on the occasion, Gen. Singh said the agitation was for “saving the country from corruption as there is no other way.” “I thank Anna Hazare and others for heeding to our appeal and ending the fast. Other than corruption, the issues which are concerning the nation are black money, law and order,
weakening rupee and inflation. There is no governance and it has become directionless,” he said.
Team Anna made it clear their fight was for changing the system , not power. Meanwhile, Team Anna on Friday said its political alternative will not compromise on corruption, holding their fight is for changing the system and not power. "Anna is a hero of people. How long he can remain deaf to the voice of people? He has taken a decision to challenge the political class," a statement posted on the India Against Corruption website said.
"Now Team Anna is ready to enter the battlefield of politics. Now Team Anna is ready to enter the battleground to take on government. Anna has said that he will not dilute his beliefs. The political alternative that will come up will not compromise on corruption. This fight is not for changing power but changing system," it said.
It said political parties continue to say that Anna and his supporters will not be able to win elections and to counter such claims, it is necessary to talk about political alternative. "Team Anna has sounded the bugle to enter the political battlefield and take on political parties. Now people have to take a decision whether the corrupt system will continue to exploit you or support a right alternative," it said.
However, a word of caution came from Medha Patkar, a member of Team Anna's Core Committee who made a single appearance at the Jantar Mantar protest this time. "One has to ensure that people who are awakened remained so and one has to think a 100 times before taking a plunge into electoral politics. If he joins politics, then the momentum gained should not be lost. When people with noble intentions join politics, either they don't last long or they don't achieve much," she said.
Team Anna member Kiran Bedi defended the move, saying Hazare's call is that he will help identify good and ethical people so that they could make it to politics. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said they were taking this step reluctantly but people have been telling them why don't they work for providing a political alternative. Activist Manish Sisodia, whose fast entered tenth day, said, the ball is now in people's court on how this fight can be taken to Parliament. "It will happen by forming a party or with the help of individuals or some other way will emerge. People are sending their suggestions. The bottomline is that this mission needs to be taken to Parliament from streets," Sisodia said.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde said he does not support Anna Hazare and his team floating a political party, but would campaign for candidates who identify themselves with his movement against corruption. Hegde said Anna's identity is not of a politician but one who wants to bring about social change. "I think he should continue to be like that. Anna is not meant for forming a political party," he added.
He, however, said he did not have any reservations if Team Team Anna contests elections, provided they don't seek support from political parties involved in corruption.
- Asian Tribune -