Hazare kept mum on whether old associates Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi will be part of this new team. However, according to those who attended the meeting, members from erstwhile Team Anna who wish to continue with the apolitical movement rather than forming a political party would be invited to join the new team.
BVJA secretary Alauddin Sheikh said a decision had also been taken not to support any candidate belonging to a political party. “During the coming elections, the movement will support only Independent candidates. Nobody from any political party would get support as he or she would only listen to their political masters.”
In another signal that he was distancing himself from Kejriwal and company, Hazare’s blogpost on Sunday gave the address of his NGO BVJA in Ralegan Siddhi as the contact point for those who wanted to be associated with his movement. So far, since its inception in November 2010, Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia’s Public Cause Research Foundation had functioned as the secretariat of India Against Corruption.
Hazare said the new “advisory team” would provide an ideological path to the movement, and it would be carried forward by “BVJA volunteers” in the state and country. While the BVJA has a well-established network in Maharashtra, the plan is to spread it across the country, starting with over 200 new volunteers.
Hazare reiterated his apolitical stance, telling reporters: “We will not form any political party but will work to give an alternative to the people.” In his blog, he wrote that “politics will not deliver a better future” and emphasised that the character of the movement should shift from targeting government and focus on ensuring that good people enter Parliament.
Asked about the members of the new team, BVJA secretary Alauddin Sheikh said: “Annaji is scheduled to visit Delhi on September 19 where he will meet different people and activists, including his former team members. He would then take a call after consulting others in the BVJA.”
A day earlier, on September 18, a meeting would be held in Pune of about 15 invitees called from Maharashtra to be part of the new team. The nature, responsibility and constitution of the team are likely to be discussed at these meetings.
Sheikh, who is among the invitees, said: “Those who want to contest elections have the option to go ahead. Others will be incorporated in the new initiative of Annaji.”
The invitees from Maharashtra include Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar, Magsaysay award winner activists Dr Abhay Bang and Prakash Aamte, national convenor of the National Alliance of People’s movement Suniti S R, anti-Lavasa activist Vishwambhar Chowdhari, Surekha Dalwi, Girish Prabhune, who has worked for the welfare of marginalised groups, Ulka Mahajan of the Sarvahara Jan Andolan, journalist Bhau Torsekar, Jaywant Matkar of NGO Sarvodaya, Narendra Dabholkar of Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti and political commentator Avinash Dharmadhikari.
With ENS, Delhi
Raises liquor again
In his blog, Anna Hazare repeated his contentious remark on political parties distributing alcohol, though stopping short of saying they do so for votes. “All parties acknowledge the strength of youth. Many candidates are using these youth by providing them liquor and making them addicted to it. Is it not dangerous for the country?”
Respected Annaji, you are doing a great job for the Nation i am proud of you. just one of my point is make one representative in every college in India and sure you will getting lot of support that you need.