India Against Corruption, the platform that was created under the initiative of Arvind Kejriwal in association with nine others, and its assets are now in danger of being torn asunder between the supporters of Arvind Kejriwal and those who back Anna Hazare. The assets include the name India Against Corruption, its Facebook page, the lakhs of rupees collected as donations in the name of IAC and now, an NGO started by Kejriwal.
The donations received by IAC during 2011 and 2012 amount to Rs 1.48 crore. These remain with the Public Cause Research Foundation.
An accounts statement by PCRF about the money received and spent till September 2011 shows that while the IAC received donations worth Rs 2.5 crore, half of it got spent.
Kiran Bedi has been tweeting that she was looking for a new office for IAC, now that the IAC movement was free and so on. This has angered many in the Kejriwal camp.
“I am a member of the IAC from the beginning and I have worked for it. I am not going to join any political party or fight elections but I also don’t consider Kiran Bedi as my leader. So why should she look for a new office for IAC?” asks a Kejriwal supporter.
Devender Sharma, one of the earliest of the ten people, who joined Kejriwal to form the IAC says that there is no denying the fact Arvind Kejriwal initiated the process and built the movement. But now that he has chosen a political option he should let go of the movement.
Another former member says that Kiran Bedi is right when she says that the IAC and its money now belong to Anna and the movement that is being led by Anna.
Sources said that Kiran Bedi had openly said at a meeting with the rest of the team that the money should come to Anna. When asked about the fate of IAC’s assets, she said she did not know.
But what is clear is that Kejriwal is not going to let go IAC, a movement he conceived and nursed for over two years, so easily.
Kejriwal gets back Facebook page but content lost
Arvind Kejriwal controls the Facebook page that was taken away by its maker Shivendra Singh Chauhan. Soon the matter is to be battled out in courts, says Chauhan. Three days ago the Facebook page of IAC just vanished into thin air. He had managed to retain control on the page saying that he started it much before the movement took off.
But three days ago, through a unique strategy, the Kejriwal camp merged the page to the new IAC page that Kejriwal had recently started.
Facebook has a provision for merging smaller and similar pages with a bigger page. But in this case, with the connivance of a government agency, Kejriwal got a bigger page merged into his new Facebook page. The result is that all the 500,000-odd followers on the original Facebook page of IAC are now seen on the recent page of Kejriwal called Final War Against Corruption. The latter had only 60,000 followers till the merger of the two pages.
“This is betrayal of the privacy and freedom of the lakhs of people who found themselves herded into another page without their knowledge,” says Chauhan. “We are consulting lawyers and a criminal case can be filed against Kejriwal for this.”
“But the worst part of this is the fact that the original IAC Facebook page which documented the entire history of the movement is now destroyed forever. It cannot ever be retrieved. All they got were its followers. The data is lost as a small page cannot accommodate a bigger page,” says Chauhan who has already launched a new page today for Anna’s movement called www.facebook.com/Janlokpaal.
“We worked for two years to get those followers. Now they are lost forever,” says Chauhan. When told that Kejriwal also lost the fruits of his labour, he said that it was his choice.
Says a former founding member of IAC: It is a classic case of one man starting something so brilliant and destroying it himself.