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I can't be party to power-broking, says Waterman Rajendra Singh

Sunny Sebastian
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Team Anna has deviated from goal of fighting corruption

Rajendra Singh
Rajendra Singh

Waterman Rajendra Singh has accused Team Anna of straying from its goal of fighting corruption and turning into a “bunch of power brokers.” The success with the public during the Delhi fast of social activist Anna Hazare made them give up all pretensions to democratic functioning while at collective action, he charged.

Mr. Singh, along with another social activist P.V. Rajagopal, recently quit the core group of Anna Hazare's movement protesting against its taking sides in the just concluded Hisar Lok Sabha by-election.

“There is no place for decent people in Team Anna. There is no inner democracy there. When we demand that the governments function more democratically, how could we ignore this aspect within our movement,” Mr. Singh, who was here, asked, talking to The Hindu on Thursday. “I quit the group because I could not have been a party to the kind of power brokering they did in the Hisar by-election,” he said.

“At the outset, it was decided that the movement would not have anything to do with party politics. Even when the central theme is fighting corruption, Team Anna supported corrupt persons.”

Mr. Singh said the decision to take sides in the by-election was made without consulting all members of the core group.

Mr. Singh refuted the charge that his action was influenced by senior Congress leader Dijvijay Singh and also the fear of government retribution. “I don't have any special relation with any political leader. Also, I am not afraid of the governments. Those who take money from the government may be afraid of the government and I don't take any money.”

‘Too ambitious'

Team Anna forgot that the ultimate power belonged to the people, and started acting in “an arrogant and greedy” manner, he charged. The members got carried away, became too ambitious and forgot their original mission. “Even Anna Hazare seemingly forgot for a moment that power belonged to the people. The phenomenal success of his hunger strike, achieved with the help of the media, made his colleagues turn dictators,” Mr. Singh said.

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal “did maximum damage to the movement,” Mr. Singh said. After having been in government service, both Ms. Kiran Bedi and Mr. Kejriwal showed tendencies of dictating to others, he alleged. Mr. Singh, known for his community work in building johads (checkdams) and restoring nature's balance, said Mr. Hazare's movement was not talking about protecting natural resources, common property, rivers and waterbodies. Similarly, he said, there was no concern shown for the landless millions, for whom Mr .Rajagopal has been agitating.

“On my part, I don't want to harm Mr. Anna Hazare's movement but I believe what is going on now will not help to reduce corruption,” he asserted. “Common property is fast turning into corporate property and nobody seems to be bothered,” he said.

Mr. Singh said initiatives like that taken by Mr. Hazare were necessary in a democratic country. “I believe that there is reason and scope for such a movement to cleanse society of corruption. After the country gained freedom, many forms of corruption have crept into the system,” he said.

“We all want early enactment of the Lokpal. I am confident that the Bill, to be presented during the winter session of Parliament, would lead to legislation on a strong Lokpal. The UPA government has accepted the concept of the Lokpal,” he said.

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