Shifting its stance, Team Anna ended its fast on Friday and announced its plunge into electoral politics to provide an ‘alternative political force’ that is ‘democratic, ethical and accountable.’ They were offered juice and water by former Army chief, V.K Singh.

“It is time to topple the Government. We will tour the country and people will help select our candidates (for the 2014 elections),” said activist Arvind Kejriwal. However, he added, “If the Government passes Lokpal, we don’t need to join politics.”

Meanwhile, agency reports quoted Parliamentary Affairs Minister, P K Bansal, saying that the Lokpal Bill was not listed in the business of the Monsoon session of Parliament.

As the health of fasting Team Anna members deteriorated and the Government failed to respond, Anna Hazare called off the fast and launched a ‘movement’.

“It will be a movement from the street to Parliament. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund them,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

However, Anna Hazare was clear that he would neither launch a political party nor contest elections. “I will go around the country for the next two years. We have another two years left (for the elections) and I will awaken the people,” he said.

Justifying the formation of a political outfit, he said that when they started the movement, political parties taunted them saying you contest elections and come to Parliament. “Now when we announce that we are taking the political plunge the same parties are feeling threatened,” he said.

Anna Hazare said he was encouraged by the fact that people such as V K Singh had extended support to the civil society movement. He, along with other eminent citizens, had appealed to Team Anna to call off their fast on Thursday.

V.K Singh said, “Other than corruption, the issues which are concerning the nation are black money, law and order, weakening rupee and inflation. There is no governance and it has become directionless.”

Meanwhile, the Congress said Team Anna’s decision to launch a political party was a face saver to end the fast as the issues raised by the activists were “completely hollow” in substance.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 3, 2012)
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