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Unease in Team Anna; Hazare hints at revamp

October 28, 2011 18:05 IST

Anna Hazare on Friday hinted at expansion of his Core Committee as a sense of unease gripped his team over allegations of financial misconduct by some of its key members.

The core committee of Team Anna will be expanded soon, journalist Raju Parulekar, who is Hazare's official blogger, said as two key member Medha Patkar and Kumar Vishwas demanded "overhaul" of the core committee.

He, however, declined to go into details of when and how the revamp will take place.

The thinking on reconstituting the team comes ahead of the crucial meeting of the core committee in nearby Ghaziabad on Saturday which will not be attended by Hazare, who is on a vow of silence from October 16.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of a series of allegations against key members like Kejriwal and Bedi as well as resignation of two prominent activists Rajinder Singh and P V Rajagopal citing the political turn taken by Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

Parulekar also said Hazare is contemplating forming a pan-India apolitical organisation to achieve his objective of a change in whole electoral system.

"The new outfit would aim at not playing the game of election but to change the rule of the game of election," Parulekar said adding "it will be an apolitical organisation."

Though Patkar and Vishwas did not criticise Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, who are facing flak over the running of their NGOs and their financial integrity being questioned, they have referred to the allegations faced by the core committee members.

"I don't think there is a difference of opinion. The only thing is a bit of overhauling is certainly becoming necessary because there are a number of allegations and core committee members are being targeted," Patkar, who will not be attending Saturday's meeting due to prior engagement, said.

Another prominent member Santosh Hegde will also not attend the meeting.

Vishwas, a lecturer-poet, said the leaders of the ruling party were targeting Hazare and each member of the core committee and trying to tarnish their public image and credibility.

In a veiled attack on key Team Anna members, Santosh Hegde said, "Anna's strength does not lies in core committee or the people's honesty in the core committee". However, he cited a prior commitment in Mumbai for not attending the meet and said there are no differences.

Meanwhile Rajinder Singh, who quit Team Anna due to differences over its political approach, alleged that Anna Hazare deviated from his objective by supporting a "corrupt" candidate in Hisar bypoll and that his team is full of "arrogant" people.

Singh also attacked Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, alleging they were the "most arrogant" members of Team Anna.

Being former bureaucrats they are in the habit of throwing their weight about and imposing themselves on others, he alleged.

Team Anna core committee meeting comes against the backdrop of a series of allegations against key members like Kejriwal and Bedi as well as resignation of two prominent activists Rajinder Singh and P V Rajagopal citing the political turn taken by Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

The meeting also comes amidst a renewed attack on Hazare by Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who alleged that the Gandhian's anti-corruption agitation as well as that of yoga guru Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravisankar were part of an over-all plan of RSS-BJP to divert attention from right-wing terror.

Team Anna has been on the backfoot with Bedi battling charges of overcharging her hosts by inflating travel bills and Kejriwal being accused of depositing donations collected for Hazare's agitation against corruption.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, another member, also triggered a controversy by advocating plebiscite in Kashmir, evoking strong opposition from Hazare and other team members.

Vishwas shot off a letter to Hazare demanding suspension of the core committee and sought its expansion to make it more representative against the backdrop of Congress leaders targeting it.

"Such attacks (against Team Anna members) and the subsequent clarifications will strengthen the conspiracy to divert the attention from the key issues...I request you to give greater representation to the core committee consisting of limited members and turn it into a hard-core committee comprising of 121 crore people.

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