New Delhi: Two key associates of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare quit the core committee of his team yesterday objecting to the movement taking a "political turn". Both Magsaysay Award winner Rajinder Singh and PV Rajagopal did not approve of Team Anna's anti-Congress campaign in Hisar, saying it was not decided in the core committee.
"Without any regard for democratic values, if you start campaigning against one party, it is not right," said Mr Singh, who is also known as the 'waterman of India'. He added that he respects the movement, but cannot continue to be a member of the team over his difference of opinion with regards to Team Anna's anti-Congress campaigning during Hisar by-polls. "This is one of the best movements after independence. But after some incidents in the last few days, I have decided that I cannot be a member of this team anymore."
At the recently held by-election in Hisar in Haryana, Team Anna activists campaigned vociferously against the Congress, turning the polls into a prestige point. They asked voters to defeat the Congress to send across the message that unless the party is able to deliver the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament, bigger elections coming up in the next few months will also humble the Congress. When the results were announced, the party's candidate fared so poorly that he even lost his deposit.
RTI activist and Team Anna's chief strategist Arvind Kejriwal has admitted that differences do exist within their team, but added that they "are not personal." Speaking at NDTV's Indian of the Year Awards in Delhi on Tuesday, Mr Kejriwal said, "The people in the team are all live human beings and they would always have their own opinions. And it is always healthy to have a difference of opinion."
While much is being talked about the reported infighting within Team Anna, another key Team Anna member Kiran Bedi tried to downplay the matter. "We are team of volunteers and each volunteer is coming for causes of their own. Somebody's coming with a kisan (farmers') movement, somebody for agriculture, somebody for tribal movement, and some for human rights. It's a group of volunteers and therefore you can always volunteer out for your own personal reasons," she said.