No campaign in poll-bound states: Team Anna

Team member Kejriwal said they would tour the five states and claimed their campaign was never directed at the Congress.

Published: 10th January 2012 03:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:11 PM   |  A+A-


Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare. (File photo: PTI)

RALEGAN SIDDHI: Team Anna today decided to desist from campaigning against any party in the five election-bound states, a decision apparently prompted by divisions within its fold over its strident anti-Congress stand.

"There was a consensus in the Core Committee meeting that we should tour all five poll-bound states but we should not campaign against any party. Anna Ji shares this view and we will not campaign against any particular party," Anna aide Arvind Kejriwal told reporters after meeting the ailing Gandhian at his native village.

Team Anna's Core Committee had met in Delhi yesterday amid "confusion" on how to take the movement forward after a tepid public response to Hazare's fast in Mumbai against the "weak" Lokpal Bill brought by the government in Parliament and criticism of their anti-Congress posture.

According to sources, a section in the Team, including social activist Medha Patkar and a few others, were against the movement solely targeting Congress on Lokpal issue. Though Patkar did not attend yesterday's meeting, she sent a note in this regard.

Key members of his team, including Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, met Hazare to inquire about the 74-year-old Gandhian's health after he was discharged from a Pune hospital recently and to communicate to him what transpired at the Core Committee meeting.

The Core Committee had decided to leave it to Hazare to take a final call on its future strategy, including whether or not to target any single political party in polls.

Kejriwal said Hazare was still "very ill" and a decision on whether he would join other members of his team on the tour will be taken only after he has fully recovered.

However, the team would create public awareness in the five states about the Lokpal Bill.

Kejriwal maintained no political party can claim to be corruption-free.

"The events that are happening show that no political party is clean and without taint of corruption. Our fight is bigger and aimed at bringing about a change in the system."

In reply to a question, the bureaucrat-turned-social activist said "we were never anti-Congress."

Team Anna had earlier declared that it would campaign against Congress for not bringing a strong Lokpal Bill before Parliament.

It had also campaigned against Congress in the Lok Sabha bypoll in Hisar in the party-ruled Haryana in October last year.

Kejriwal was critical of the Centre for bringing a "weak" Lokpal Bill despite "lakhs and crores of people" taking to streets in support of a strong anti-graft ombudsman.

Bhushan said the supporters of Hazare will create awareness about efforts made by his team for a strong Lokpal and the stand taken by the government and other political parties.

"The government had a greater responsibility (for creation of a strong Lokpal) but the role played by other parties too was doubtful. In any case, we are not going to campaign against any party," he said.

Bhushan said Team Anna proposed to organise a conference on "Rebuilding the Republic" on January 26 where the participants would discuss ways to bring about "total involvement" of people in policy formulation, law-making and nation building.


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