Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal are ending their fast at Jantar Mantar after speaking about the importance of giving India a secular political alternative, but will Team Anna now become the ‘fourth front’ in Indian politics ahead of the 2014 elections?
Both Hazare and Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said yesterday that the movement was seriously considering a ‘political alternative’ for the people, to further aid them in their battle against corruption, although Hazare said he would not participate in elections. He was also vague on whether or not, the ‘alternative’ would translate into an actual political party.
“When this new party’s people become legislators only then will the Lokpal be created,” said Hazare, adding that the new legislators will be able to resolve all the problems plaguing farmers and labourers.
Giving the specifics of the political alternative in the making, Hazare said that the formation would work on two conditions – 40 percent honest candidates in Parliament and decentralisation of power.
This was the first time Hazare has publicly spoken about creating a political alternative.
“We need to ensure that the right candidates are chosen to go to Parliament….If we choose the wrong candidates then there is no point in the agitation,” he said.
Anna Hazare added that they also had to consider the fact the they were talking of creating a political alternative in a country where each candidate spends 15- 20 crore in election campaigning.” We have to think that how we will counter such candidates without such money power,” Hazare said.
He added that the team would have to replicate the atmosphere at Jantar Mantar across the country. “The country lives in villages. We have to mobilise gram sabhas for the political formation to be a success,” he said.
The team is clearly buoyed by the fact that the crowd support for their movement at Jantar Mantar has grown exponentially since the start of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal said there were many questions that people needed to answer if they wanted a political alternative to be offered by the anti-corruption activists.
Kejriwal said that this was a people’s movement and added that people had told them that they were in favour of creating a political alternative. “Based on various surveys running on news channels, we can say that majority of people are with us,” he said.
He added that he agreed with the concerns of Hazare regarding the formation of a political alternative for the prople. “Candidates have to be clean and honest for this new formation to work. We have to be cautious about candidate selection and want people’s opinion on the same,” he said.
“Leaders such as Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Yadav are products of Jai Prakash movement. You have to tell us how to make sure that the new leaders don’t get corrupt,” Kejriwal added.