Millennium Post

Anna’s poll gamble

In a move that surprised many, Team Anna declared on Thursday that it would end its fast against corruption on Friday and alongside gave enough hints that it may enter into direct electoral politics.

'There is nothing wrong with forming a party, and we need to provide an alternative to the people,'
said Anna Hazare, while speaking to his supporters at Jantar Mantar. He said that Team Anna wanted feedback from its supporters within 48 hours on whether it should form a political party or not.

Almost making it certain that it would form a party, Hazare said, 'It is another two years to go to polls in 2014. We need to go to people throughout the country in the next one-and-half years, so why waste time on fasts?'

The decision to call off the fast at 5 pm on Friday was taken after some prominent people appealed that Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and two other members of Team Anna should end their fast because their health was deteriorating.

While talking about the alternative, Kejriwal said that forming an alternative is easy but taking it forward is difficult. He added, 'Our movement is for the change of system and not change of a government. Our movement is for decentralisation of power into the hands of the common man.'

Elaborating on his idea of an alternative political system, Hazare said that there are a few questions that need to be answered about it, like if the political front is launched, how the candidates are selected, so that honest people enter Parliament. 'How will we ensure that only honest person are selected and what if the elected person turns corrupt after election?' asked Hazare.

Accepting that caste and religion play a role in today's electoral politics, Hazare said that they would give a secular political alternative. Talking about the money power that dominates the elections, Hazare said that it was a problem that he was also concerned about.

The Congress, however, was critical of Team Anna's decision to jump into electoral politics. 'We were saying this from first day that Team Anna is inspired by politics. It's good that their intentions are out in the open. It's best they come out and be part of the same system they abuse always,' said the information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.

During the week-long fast, the government had refused to engage with Team Anna like it had done the last time. Though the fast will end on Friday, none of the demands made by Team Anna has been accepted by the government.
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