'Anna Hazare's Gang of Four is taking India for a ride'
Seeking to put Team Anna members on the back-foot, the activist's former blogger Raju Parulekar has accused the "gang of four" in Anna Hazare's core team of using the activist as a "demi-god" to further their interests and hold the government to "ransom".
Parulekar, who fell out with Hazare after the latter publicly snubbed him on the issue of restructuring of the core committee, alleged that Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodia had "free reigns" and had a free run in the media by becoming "experts" on various subjects, which gave them the "stature of being virtuous and demi-gods".
He sought answers from Hazare as to who "pressurised" him against removing Bhushan from the core team for his controversial comments on plebiscite in Kashmir and whether he was aware of the financial transactions of Kejriwal and Sisodia and their "ambitions".
Image: Raju Parulekar
'Are we going to place India in the hands of these people?'
He also questioned the entire Jan Lokpal Bill movement in his blog posting late on Friday night to clarify his side of the story, claiming that he had not manipulated Hazare's blog postings.
He said the "disillusioned" countrymen have been misled to believe that this self-centered movement will "create a heaven for them" and a stricter Jan Lokpal Bill can abolish more than 50 per cent of corruption from their lives.
"The truth lies somewhere else," he said, adding, "This bunch of 20-plus people and 'gang of four' among them take the country for a ride and hold the government to ransom. Are we going to place our country in the hands of these four-five people and their salaried gang members? ".
Image: Team Anna members Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan
"Who has selected these 21 people?'
"How difficult will it be for the agitation to sustain and pull ahead alone on Anna Hazare's moral strength? Which direction is it heading to? Are any of us Indians familiar with the other members of Team Anna except for the Bhushan father-son-duo, Bedi, Sisodia and Kejriwal? Who has selected these 21 people to represent the 120 crore people in India," he asked.
"The only difference between political parties and Team Anna is the moral authority wielded by Hazare, because of which 20-plus people including the 'gang of four' enjoy the privilege of being called 'patriots' and the whole political class bows at their feet with the sheer guilt of their absolute corruption" he wrote.
Parulekar, who also released a letter he wrote but did not send to Hazare, said there is no movement on the ground to bring a systemic change and the present fight for the Jan Lokpal Bill, if enacted, will mean "another opportunity for corruption".
Image: A rally in support of Anna Hazare
'Team Anna members remained arrogant'
On the controversial letter by Hazare on restructuring Team Anna, which was made public by him, Parulekar said Hazare has cast aspersions on his honesty and integrity.
But he felt that those were not the Gandhian's words but of somebody else's, who was "dangerous, wicked, self-centered and in the real-sense a enemy of the people of the country called India."
He claimed that the October 30 meeting in Ralegan Siddhi was stormy where Hazare contradicted Kejriwal and others.
"I had shown Annaji's handwritten and signed letter for re-structuring 'Team Anna' to the trio. They were shaken but remained arrogant. Kejriwal said, 'we 'Team Anna' have decided in Kosambi that the 'team' will remain so hence the letter is insignificant.' He went on to claim that restructuring of 'Team Anna' will harm the Jan Lokpal issue. Annaji wrote on a piece of paper, 'how come re-structuring and Jan Lokpal Bill issues are contradictory?' Annaji's reaction was all the more explosive," he said.
Image: Anna Hazare
'Hegde, Patkar are hurt within'
Parulekar claimed that Bhushan mocked at Hazare, asking what he knew about Chinese history as he spoke about a 'gang of four' in the government that was targeting Team Anna.
Parulekar also alleged that Kumar Vishwas' letter seeking disbanding of the team was "orchestrated" by Kejriwal and others.
"The moment I announced to the media your plans of bringing about changes in 'Team Anna' at the earliest, Kumar Vishwas suddenly appeared from Ghaziabad and started reading and explaining the letter that was meant to be a 'secret'," he said.
He also questioned why the donations for Hazare's movement were deposited in the trust held jointly by Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia and why they were not deposited in Ralegan Siddhi's trust account.
"Swami Ramdev, Shri Shri, Medha Patkar, Rajendra Singhji and even Hegde sahib distanced themselves from the movement. Though they do not publicly disown the movement, they are hurt within, which is absolutely visible," he claimed.
Image: Anna Hazare with associates Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan