Sunday, 16 October 2011

No democracy in Team Anna, says Agnivesh

From The Hindu

Describing Anna Hazare’s campaign as ‘brahminvaad’, activist Swami Agnivesh on Sunday hit out at the Gandhian saying there was “no democracy” in his agitation and dissenting voices were thrown out of the team.
Swami Agnivesh also claimed that the RSS stamp was “very much evident” in the campaign and that he had argued for better representation of Muslims and Dalits to counter this.
He said many of the crucial decisions like opposing Congress in Hisar elections and holding referendum in Union Minister Kapil Sibal’s constituency were not taken by core committee and it was like “Anna and Arvind (Kejriwal) were taking all decisions”.
Claiming that he had argued for better representation of Muslims and Dalits in the anti-corruption, Swami Agnivesh said, “It was brahminvaad. They were not ready to treat everybody as equal. We did not see Dalits or Muslims in Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Maidan where Anna sat on fast”.
Targeting Hazare, he said, “Anna is very individualistic. He never functions in a democratic way. It is like ‘if you fall in line, then it is okay’”.
“None of the big social workers from Maharashtra were part of his campaign,” Swami Agnivesh told PTI in an interview.
He said he had objected to building a “cult around Anna” in the meetings but no one listened.
“People used to say we were foot soldiers. Somebody said Anna is ‘Doosra Gandhi’, then there was Anna is India and India is Anna. When I pointed out these, they did not find any fault with it,” he said.
Swami Agnivesh, who was in the eye of a controversy after a video footage surfaced in which he was heard telling someone that Anna agitation should be dealt with strictly, said there was no democratic way of decision making in Team Anna.
A number of Team Anna members, who attended the September 10-11 Core meeting in Hazare’s village Ralegan Siddhi, said that there no decision was taken to oppose Congress, he claimed.
On allegations that he was a “government mole”, Swami Agnivesh said how can Team Anna assume so when he himself opened the doors of World Council of Arya Samaj office in Sadar Bazar in north Delhi to keep the referendum questionnaire to be distributed in Chandni Chowk, Mr. Sibal’s constituency.
“There was no Core Committee decision to hold a referendum in Chandni Chowk. But one day Mr. Kejriwal told me they don’t have space to keep the questionnaire.
“I opened the doors of Arya Samaj for them. Mr. Sibal was upset that I was supporting them. But now they are calling me government mole.
“In another instance, another member asked me to talk to Law Minister Salman Khurshid as I knew him. I did so at the instance of that member. During the whole Ramlila Maidan agitation, I did not talk to Mr. Sibal. Is it a reason to call me a mole?” Swami Agnivesh said.
He also accused Mr. Kejriwal of misinforming public about the role of Standing Committee in law-making process.
“I spoke to constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani. They both said it was an effective platform to improve the Bill.
“When I presented this viewpoint in the Core Committee on August 13, I was asked why did I speak to these people,” he claimed.
“There was a deliberate misinformation campaign against the role of Standing Committee. One should remember that RTI Bill had 156 amendments in the Standing Committee. This is what Mr. Kashyap told me,” he said.
He said he was the lone voice of dissent against Hazare going on a fast-unto-death agitation at Ramlila Maidan.
“It was recorded in the minutes. I insisted that. But Anna was adamant. He was saying one may die of heart attack also, so what is the difference. He was adamant.
“I was for a fast for 5-6 days but not fast-unto-death. I was concerned about Anna’s health.”
On RSS involvement, he said Sangh itself has come out in open on its role in the agitation when Hazare tried to distance himself from the organisation.

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