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Team Anna’s political alternative

Committee to decide name and shape of the new political party to be launched by the close associates

  • By Ajay Jha, Chief Correspondent
  • Published: 21:00 August 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Questions are being raised as to why Anna Hazare announced his decision to form a new political party and give up his agitation against corruption following a 10-day long hunger strike by Team Anna at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar that ended on August 3.

New Delhi: Groundwork has started to replace the now disbanded Team Anna with a preparatory committee to decide name and shape of the new political party to be launched by the close associates of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.

Magsaysay award winner social activist Arvind Kejriwal, the mastermind behind roping in Hazare to spearhead the national campaign against corruption, is now working with others to finalise names of the members of the preparatory committee that would finalise name, constitution, flag, manifesto and code of conduct for members of the new party and provide Indians with a political alternative.

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

Aswathi Muralidharan, the media coordinator for India Against Corruption

The preparatory work in this regard has started amidst disenchantment of supporters and allegations by members that they were not consulted before the decision to disband Team Anna and float a new political outfit.

Aswathi Muralidharan, the media coordinator for India Against Corruption that spearheaded Hazare’s 18-month long agitation , however, disagrees. “All members were kept in the loop on the decision to disband Team Anna", Muralidharan said.

Hazare in his blog on Monday said that Team Anna’s job was over, while announcing the decision to disband it.

Questions are being raised as to why Hazare announced the decision to form a new political party and give up his agitation against corruption following 10-day long hunger strike by Team Anna at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar that ended on August 3.

Apparently the less than expected public support and dwindling crowd at the fast venue seem to have forced Team Anna to consider the option of abandoning the path of agitation and enter politics.

While no one is ready to confirm it on the record, the fact remains that it was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that in its bid to unsettle and discredit the Congress party-ruled United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government mobilised its cadre to make Hazare, the anti-corruption hero confined to his home state Maharashtra.

And it was apparently the RSS decision to withdraw its backing that resulted into those thousands who were teeming earlier at his fast venues disappearing all of a sudden.

According to an insider in the RSS, the organisation did so after realising political ambitions of Team Anna would do more harm than good to its political outfit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it would eat into the anti-UPA votes.

It is certain that Hazare and former federal minister Shanti Bhushan would be the guiding force of the new political outfit. Reportedly politicians have started showing interests in joining the new party, it will be interesting to see if Team Anna would accept the turncoats into its ranks. If not, the bigger question would be how they are going to identify incorruptible and honest individuals with chances of defeating seasoned politicians.

It will also be interesting to see if Team Anna, which showed its political colours earlier this year by campaigning against Congress nominees in state elections would launch itself and take on the BJP as two BJP-ruled states, namely Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, are slated to go to polls later this year, to be followed by elections in another BJP-ruled state Karnataka in less than a year or wait until 2014 general elections to make its electoral debut.

Hazare has already announced that he has nothing to do with the new party, but he is expected to work on the ground to elicit support for it as he has plans of extensively travelling across the country. Team Anna says to start with, they would target the village bodies to create a support base for itself and is banking heavily on the youth, who had in the past come out in the open in large numbers to support the movement against corruption.

Political analysts feel Team Anna has a daunting task ahead of it since normally it takes years to convert a movement into a party as it requires creating base, enrolling members, selecting office bearers from block to national levels and identifying suitable candidates. Moreover, in the era of coalition governments, Team Anna may find it difficult to shake hands with any other party and form government in the future due to presence of tainted elements in almost all political parties.

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