V K Singh, Hegde, Bedi in new Anna team

Abantika Ghosh Posted: Nov 08, 2012 at 0305 hrs
New Delhi A former Army chief, a former Lokayukta, two former directors general of police, an agriculturist and a chemical engineer from IIT with strong Ramdev links and representation from the National Alliance of People’s Movements — Anna Hazare’s new team to be announced on Saturday is likely to be a mishmash of leftovers from the disbanded core committee of India Against Corruption (IAC) and Hazare’s own associates from Maharashtra with some known and unknown activists thrown in.

The names decided upon for Hazare’s new committee, according to sources close to Hazare, are former Army chief V K Singh, former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, former DGPs Kiran Bedi and Shashi Kant (Punjab), former bureaucrat Avinash Dharmadhikari, Pune-based activist Vishwambhar Choudhury (both Hazare’s old associates), agriculturist Davinder Sharma and chemical engineer Pawan Gupta (both linked to Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman.

Other members are Rakesh Rafiq from NAPM, environment activist Rajinder Singh, Gandhian thinker P V Rajagopal, activists Akhil Gogoi from Assam, Arvind Gaur from Delhi and Akshay from Orissa who has been working in the anti-Posco agitation.

The tentative list, with few surprises, is already believed to have caused some heartburn among the IAC volunteers and core committee members who have regrouped around Hazare following his split with Arvind Kejriwal. Many of them had had their own falling out with Kejriwal and remained in the sidelines till this August when Hazare officially dissociated himself from Kejriwal.

Art of Living is likely to remain unrepresented, unlike in the IAC core committee.

The new Team Anna may also look less secular than its original version. Among the people who started IAC were four Muslims — Maulana Mahmood Madani, Syed Rizvi, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi and Syed Shah Fazlur Rehman Waizi and one Christian, Archbishop Vincent M Concessao. Qasmi and Archbishop Concessao were part of the core committee too but left it at different times.

Singh and Rajagopal were the first core committee members to walk out in October last year alleging that the movement was taking an unpalatable, political turn, an allegation that was subsequently levelled by Qasmi too.

Others who were a part of previous Team Anna included Hegde, Bedi, Sharma, Gogoi and Gaur. Rakesh Rafiq and Dr Sunilam were special invitees.

Though the names for the new committee are “almost final”, those acquainted with Hazare’s functioning say last minute additions and deletions are still possible especially since there is hectic lobbying by many erstwhile IAC insiders and rank outsiders for inclusion in the committee.

The name of the trust that will carry on the movement will be decided in consultation with members once the committee is constituted.