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Updated: August 25, 2011 12:29 IST

We are victims of Congress’ internal politics: Team Anna

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Supporters of social activist Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
Supporters of social activist Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

As Anna Hazare’s fast entered the 10th day on Thursday, his team accused “some strong elements” in the government of nullifying the entire dialogue process and said they have become victims of Congress’ “internal politics”.

Stating that they were ready to hold talks in a “honest and sincere manner”, Team Anna alleged that Home Minister P. Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal were taking a strong stand forcing the government not to enter into a compromise with them on the Lokpal Bill.

“It appears that there are some strong elements in the government who want to nullify the entire dialogue process...

“We were told that in CCPA, especially Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Sibal, were completely opposed to any kind of agreement or any kind of dialogue,” activist Arvind Kejriwal told reporters here.

“We are becoming victims of Congress’ internal politics.

“Day before yesterday, the talks were positive, but in the CCPA meeting, Mr. Salman Khurshid told us that there was a lot of fighting. Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Sibal said there should be no dialogue with us and we should be tackled with a tough hand,” he alleged.

The accusation came after late night talks between the two sides ended in a deadlock with both sides failing to resolve the key issues, prompting the civil society to declare that they were “back to square one”.

Mr. Kejriwal said, if the CCPA and government can “ignore” the views of a senior leader like Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the chief government negotiator, then the question is that whom should they talk to?

“We will talk to the government,” another Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said.

Activist Kiran Bedi asked, “Who should we talk to? Who is in control? We can talk only if there is somebody who is capable of making decisions. Who will take the decisions? Today in this country, who do we speak to?”

Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that the government was willing to talk.

“The government is willing to talk. We have opened the path. If they want to talk, they can talk,” Mr. Khurshid.

Reacting to Ms. Bedi’s comments, he said, “We were talking to them. If they have doubts, find somebody else.”

After examining Mr. Hazare this morning, Dr. Naresh Trehan said it was a matter of concern that the Gandhian was fasting for the past 10 days.

“There is stability in his blood pressure and heart beat. He is taking rest. His ketone levels have come down. It is a matter of concern that for the past 10 days, he is fasting and he has not eaten anything,” Dr. Trehan said.

The Core Committee of Team Anna also met here this morning to finalise the next course of action.

The virtual breakdown in talks last night led to sparring between the two sides with Mr. Hazare apprehending that he would be forcibly arrested and removed from the fast site and gave a call for ‘Chalo Delhi’ and ‘gherao’ of Parliament and MPs.

Government’s chief negotiator Mr. Mukherjee sought to reject claims of team Anna representatives, saying they were “distorting” facts on discussions.

Upset at the lack of progress, Mr. Hazare’s three representatives - Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Prashant Bhushan and Ms. Kiran Bedi - said that after another round of talks with government interlocutors headed by Mr. Mukherjee difference between government’s attitude on Wednesday and Thursday was marked like “day and night”.

Ms. Bedi said, “Yesterday, the sense of urgency to break Anna’s fast in government talks was totally missing as compared to the evening earlier.”

She claimed that internal politics was coming in the way of talks. “Same persons who designed government Lokpal Bill are reportedly behind it. No one to rein them?”

Ms. Bedi said corrupt politicians will sabotage Jan Lokpal bill. “They see it as a graveyard. For, we the people, it (Jan Lokpal Bill) is a ray of hope.”

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