Two days after Team Anna ended its indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar here, social activist Anna Hazare today disbanded the nearly 18-month-old core committee of India Against Corruption, and said he would travel across the country to pick “good candidates” for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Hazare, who left for his village, Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra, after two days of discussions with key members of his team — Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Kumar Vishwas, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai — wrote in a blog post he would travel across the country, seeking views of “every gram sabha and every municipal local body to choose good candidates” for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This is the last chance for the country to elect a corruption-free government, he said.
Hazare said he had selected 12 “people's candidates” in the past in Maharashtra for the assembly elections and eight of them got elected. “The same pattern would be repeated.''
However, the decision to dissolve the committee did not go down well with all members of the team.
Devender Sharma, a member of the committee who was kept out of the meetings, said he came to know about the development through television. “If this is a sample of the democracy they propose to bring in to politics, then people are better off without it,” he said.
Santosh Hegde, Medha Patkar, Arvind Gaur, Sunita Gorada and Akhil Gogoi, all among those who supported Hazare’s movement, are also upset with his latest decision.
In the blog post, however, Hazare said the struggle for the Lok Pal would continue. “We will continue our struggle for the Lok Pal through selection of good candidates in the Lok Sabha elections. Such an opportunity wont come again. If people don’t support now, the loss will be their's not mine.''
He added he would neither form a party nor contest elections. However, he implied that his fellow activists in IAC would form a political party and run it like a struggle. First it was the struggle for a Lok Pal Bill. And now it will be a struggle for a clean government with candidates selected for that purpose. Once the government comes into power, its motive would be to pass legislation to enable the Lok Pal, right to reject, right to recall and rural self-rule, Hazare wrote in the post.
None of the core committee members were available for comments. Kumar Vishwas said the decision was taken by Hazare and he should be asked to explain. He said it merely meant that now one phase of the work was over and a new chapter was to be started. He also denied the other members were holding consultations on their own without informing others.