The Anna Hazare-led Lokpal movement ended with an expected anti-climax on Friday. A day after Anna Hazare said the fast at Jantar Mantar was a “waste of time” and “there was nothing wrong in forming political party”, Team Anna called off the agitation with the announcement of the creation of a political alternative.
Former Indian Army Chief VK Singh broke the fast of Anna Hazare and his aides by offering them coconut water at 6.30 pm- 90 minutes after scheduled time of 5pm. But it wasn’t done before the group made their political ambitions clear.
Arvind Kejriwal, who lost 5 kgs after ten days of fasting,did not let his exhaustion deter him as he announced the creation of the new, unnamed political party.
Unshaven and sitting on a chair wearing a white kurta pyjama, Kejriwal said, “This will not be party but a revolution. There will be no high command here. We will seek answers from the citizens of India.”
“The structure of the party will also depend on what people wants. Our aim is not only to win elections, but to challenge all the ruling parties from time to time. For example, we will put all our expenses on the website and ask other parties to do the same,” he said.
Kejriwal invited members of all other national and regional political parties to join his movement.
“Corruption will be thing past in the next three years,” said Kejriwal.
He asked people to write in and give suggestions for the names of the new political party, how to eliminate corruption among candidates and other matters. He also said the party would approach people for money to fight elections.
Anna Hazare said that unlike the wars of 1961 and 1975, where he served in the Indian Army, his current battle was against demons within the country. Hazare said before 2014, he would take a nation wide tour to work on the political alternative.
Hazare added that if their chosen candidates come to power, he would make sure that they don’t turn corrupt.
“If they make any errors then I will twist their ears,” he said, adding that they would be allowed to take only enough money to travel to work.
He also urged people to make sacrifices to ensure that the movement was a success.
Making his first major public appearance since retiring from the Indian Army, VK Singh, dressed in blue shirt and beige trousers, was welcomed with loud applause. Singh congratulated Team Anna for accepting the appeal made by prominent citizens of the country on Thursday.
“It appears that there is no governance in this country. The only alternative we have is the one offered by Anna Hazare. Every time you fight the powers that be, they will try to dent the image of the movement,” he said.
Social scientist Yogendra Yadav, who was also present at the event, said it was wrong to say that Team Anna has taken a safe passage by announcing a political alternative.
“Team Anna very well knew that government would not fulfill their demands. They were not surprised when they did not hear from the government,” said Yadav.
Yadav added that the social activists should be ready to face some uncomfortable questions which people would ask once they form a political party.
Initially the crowds had dwindled in the morning with only around 1,500 people present at the venue. As the appointed time to break off the fast approached, people started pouring in at the protest venue and by 4pm, around 3,000 people reached Jantar Mantar to witness the event.
During the day, Team Anna member and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan stressed upon the challenges before his associates on offering a political alternative to the country.
Bhushan said that his team members had no intention to enter into politics, but they were left with no other option.
“Electoral revolution is the need of the hour. We have to get into the dirt to change the nation. History will not forgive us if we don’t take this step now,” said Bhushan.