In a decision that took his colleagues by surprise, Anna Hazare today disbanded his team and appeared to be speaking in mixed tones on the political course taken by the anti-corruption movement.
The decision to dissolve the team came as a surprise to some of the Team Anna members, including Justice Santosh Hegde and Devender Sharma, while Kiran Bedi, who was in yesterday's meeting with Hazare, said she did not know what all it means.
Hazare's announcement came in his blog which suggested that he was not fully with Team Anna on its journey into electoral politics. The blog came after a meeting yesterday with some team members here.
Hazare did not speak about the future course of action but erstwhile Team Anna came out with a statement saying a "very inclusive" preparatory committee is being constituted to take forward the formation of a political alternative.
"Government is not ready to enact Jan Lokpal Bill. How long and how many times we will go on fast? Now, it's time to leave fast and give the country a political alternative...I think that corruption will not come down during this government tenure because it does not have the intention.
"Today, we are now stopping the activities of Team Anna. Team Anna was formed to fight for Jan Lokpal. We have also decided not to have any more talks with the government. So from today, so what is perceived as Team Anna is not there or Team Anna Core Committee," Hazare said.
Hazare appeared to put some conditions for embarking on his nationwide tour to awaken people about his team political alternative, saying he will travel across the country only if resolutions are passed by gram sabhas and similar forums in urban areas for an alternative.
"At Jantar Mantar, the team asked the people whether they are for a political alternative. All of you said yes. But Jantar Mantar is not the whole country. The country is big. It is necessary to take the opinion of people," Hazare said.
At another point, he talked about going back to Maharashtra to continue his work. "I have proposed an alternative of sending good people to Parliament. But I am not going to be part of any party nor will I contest elections. After getting Jan Lokpal, I will go back to Maharashtra where I will continue my activities."
He also said if people continue to support them like in the past 16 months, then they will be able to send good people to Parliament and ensure laws for Jan Lokpal, Right to Reject, Right to Recall and decentralisation of power.
"If the support continues...in next five years, it will be possible to built a corruption-free India with the support of people and without any party." Reminding that the struggle for Jan Lokpal Bill has not ended with its decision not to engage with the government, he said the 2014 elections is the last chance for making the country corruption-free and it will be difficult for people to get another chance after that.
The Team Anna statement said "the committee was formed to negotiate Lokpal Bill with the government. Since the movement for Lokpal has now become a movement for total revolution, the core committee met its focused responsibility," it said.
Describing as "unfortunate" the dissolution of Team Anna, key Team Anna member N Santosh Hegde said he did not think Hazare will be interested in forming a party. "May be, he didn't want starting of political party attributed to team Anna. So, I think he must have disbanded it. Somewhere things have gone wrong. Their thinking to go to Parliament to change the attitude of the House is a good idea but the question is who should go to Parliament. "May be division in the Team Anna had led Hazare to disband the team. If that is so, it is a sad thing. I would want Team Anna to lead this struggle," Hedge said.