Undoubtedly sections within the Congress have launched a relentless campaign to discredit Mr. Anna Hazare’s movement. The credibility of the movement has undeniably dimmed. But the reason for that is not the tirade launched by Mr. Digvijay Singh among others. The government’s targeting of Mr. Hazare had in fact earned considerable public sympathy for the movement which was being perceived as the victim of official vendetta. The erosion of the movement’s credibility has arisen from the differences and attitudes displayed by Mr. Hazare’s Team members themselves. It may be granted that the Congress exaggerated the minor lapses committed by the Team members. But the response by the members to the allegations and exposures was not handled with requisite maturity. Worse, there surfaced open differences within the Team. Swami Agnivesh was dismissed. Mr. Santosh Hegde and Ms Medha Patkar display at times support that can best be described as ambivalent. To cap it all Mr. Hazare’s own flip flop is raising more than a few eyebrows.
Mr. Hazare had clearly indicated that he would question and possibly act against Mr. Prashant Bhushan for his views on Kashmir. Nothing visibly happened. After certain exposures against the Team members Mr. Hazare had said that the core group might be reconstructed and new members inducted. He entered into a maun vrat while a crucial meeting of the core group was held. The group unilaterally announced that all was well, the Team remained united and strong, no reconstruction of the Team was required and no new members would be inducted into the core group. Mr. Prashant Bhushan continues to be an important member of the core group. Surprisingly Mr. Hazare dittoed the group’s decision.
Now there emerges a new development that raises questions about Mr. Hazare’s own authority within the Team. His close confidant and official Internet blogger for the Team Mr. Raju Parulekar had on the eve of the last core group meeting written a letter to Mr. Hazare which was released to the press. In that letter Mr. Parulekar sought the disbanding of the Team and its reconstruction that would include new members. Mr. Parulekar accused the core group leaders of misleading Mr. Hazare. It was widely assumed that Mr. Parulekar’s written demand had the tacit blessing of Mr. Hazare. After Mr. Hazare had endorsed the decisions of the core group he was questioned by the media about Mr. Parulekar’s letter. Mr. Hazare said: “I have not employed him or given him salary. How can he say all these things? I will ask him. I have not told him anything about this. If he has written anything like that I will take action.”
Mr. Parulekar responded: “I will defend myself and will prove that whatever I wrote or said was with consent of Anna Hazare. The Team Anna Arvind (Kejriwal), Sisodia and Kiran Bedi are leading Anna towards a black hole and towards doom for their vested interests.” So who is speaking the truth, Mr. Hazare or Mr. Parulekar? Can Mr. Parulekar provide proof that he had indeed obtained Mr. Hazare’s consent before releasing the letter? Things are looking increasingly murky within Team Anna. Who is really calling the shots, Mr. Hazare or the core group leaders? If the public starts wondering about this one cannot blame either the government or Mr. Digvijay Singh. This is a controversy of the Team’s own making.