Team Anna today suffered a vertical split with Anna Hazare and some top activists choosing to part ways with the Arvind Kejriwal-led group, opposing their plans to form a political party.

After a roller-coaster ride of 18 months in which they came together to run a high-steam anti-graft movement, the group led by Hazare had acrimonious discussions with Kejriwal and his supporters including Prashant Bushan and Shanti Bhushan on the issue of forming a political party.

Backed by activists including Kiran Bedi and Justice Santosh Hegde, Hazare told the other group during the nine-hour deliberations that they were free to form a political party but cannot use his name or photo for their campaign.

“It is unfortunate that the team has separated...I will not join any party or any group. I will not go for their campaign. I have told them not to use my photo or my name in their campaign. You fight on your own,” he said here.

Hazare refused to accept the survey done by India Against Corruption which overwhelmly favoured a political path, saying he does not agree with the exercise done through social networking sites.

“My best wishes are with them (those taking political path). There is no harm in it. If they think that they can get majority in Parliament, it is good...The paths have been separated. Both of us have chosen our (separate paths).

When pointed out that Kejriwal had earlier declared that he will not form any party if Hazare does not approve it, he said if that was the case, then the party should not be formed but “it is a good thing”.

The discussions saw a section alleging that Hazare was “exploited” by the Kejriwal group. It was countered by others saying “people in Delhi have made Anna what he is now”.

(This article was published on September 19, 2012)
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