Anna Hazare announced Monday that Team Anna had been disbanded. He said in his blog that “the work that has started in Team Anna’s name has ended, the Team Anna committee also ends here”.
Team Anna had Friday announced that it would join the political mainstream to continue its fight against corruption.
Writing in his blog, Anna Hazare said Team Anna was formed to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed, however now that it has been decided by the group not to engage with the government on the issue, the work initiated by team comes to end today.
Importantly, the core committee also stands dispersed, Anna said. Team Anna had last week - on August 03- announced that it would join the political mainstream to continue its fight against corruption.
Anna Hazare had spelled out the contours of the political alternative and said that it would be a "movement" to put an end to the "Delhi-centric government" and take governance to the villages and the people.
Hitting out at an "unresponsive government" that refused to buckle to their demands of passing the Jan Lokpal bill for creation of an ombudsman to probe graft in the system, Team Anna had said that they would take their agitation "inside Parliament and on the streets".
Arvind Kejriwal had said their political alternative would not be a party but an "andolan" or movement and they would tour the country to meet farmers, the youth and other people to know their problems and seek solutions and come up with a manifesto.
(IndiaToday) Just as Arvind Kejriwal was preparing to break his fast as well as announce his team's decision to float a political party on Friday, a trenchant critic of Team Anna surreptitiously began "exposing" what he calls their "twisted" side. Mumbai-based journalist and Anna Hazare's former blogger Raju Parulekar used the same tool that has extensively been employed by Team Anna â the social media â to attack them.
Knowing well that "Anna Hazare" and "Arvind Kejriwal" would be among the trending topics on the Internet with their fast reaching its climax on Friday, Parulekar posted an article on Twitter titled-"Anna, Kejriwal: Twisted Lies and Malpractices". In the article, Parulekar has repeated the assertion he made when he had a public fallout with Team Anna last year -that Hazare is being manipulated by the others.
He claims that even Anna Hazare's finances are in the control of Kejriwal and Co. He quotes Hazare as having told him, "my money lies in their accounts so you better speak to them". Hazare's former blogger also recollects an argument between the residents of Ralegan Siddhi and Kejriwal over all the donations for 'Brand Anna' being kept by the latter and his organisation the Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF).
The confusion arose as donations began coming in for the "Anna Movement", which didn't have a bank account.
Some gave money to India Against Corruption but much of the funds, Parulekar claims, went to the PCRF. It is here that the article begins stepping in muddy waters and Parulekar shifts from attacking Kejriwal and Co. for controlling Anna to a diatribe against Hazare himself.
"Why is Anna easily blackmailed by Kejriwal and trio? Then I stumbled on its bilateral process. I began with donations, funds, PCRF, accounts, tax returns etc." Parulekar wrote. He goes on to highlight alleged instances of corruption in Hazare's own outfits. Parulekar also suggests that Hazare uses fasts as a blackmail tactic rather than a tool of moral protest.
Team Anna has consistently downplayed the accusations made by Parulekar, terming them as mischievous and unsubstantiated. "We have always refrained from responding to these (Parulekar's) allegations. No one in the team will comment on them," Team Anna's media co-ordinator Aswathi Muralidharan said.
Blow from Hegde
Former Lokayukta and retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde has dealt a severe blow to Team Anna by declaring that he does not support the idea of Anna Hazare or any of his campaigners floating a political party.
Hegde, who has gradually distanced himself from Team Anna since January after the anti-corruption movement took multiple formats, said, "I don't support Anna Hazare and his team starting a political party. But I have heard Anna speaking on TV that he is neither forming a party nor contesting elections, but may support people wanting to contest elections, whom he knows will help fight against corruption and bring about political change in the country."
Crusader's political plans worry BJP
Team Anna's political plans have made the saffron family edgy.
Both the BJP and its ideological mentor, RSS, whose covert support helped social activist Anna Hazare turn into a crowd-pulling anti-corruption messiah, feel that Hazare's entry into politics may end up harming the party's poll prospects.
The BJP's immediate concern is the upcoming elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where it runs the government. If Hazare and his team were to prop up their own candidates or even support someone else (going by their assertion of supporting "clean candidates"), the BJP stands to lose in both the states.
Key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal had once locked horns with HP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal over a strong Lokpal.
With his strong views on Kashmir and the Naxal violence, Prashant Bhushan is at variance with the BJP's core ideology. A BJP source said Kiran Bedi had unsuccessfully tried seeking a ticket from the party.
The saffron party will need deft handling by its crisis managers to contain the damage likely to be done by Hazare's team.
Trying to convince Team Anna to join hands with them would help the BJP fight the common enemy â the Congressled UPA.