It's party time for team Anna

Anna Hazare and his team members yesterday announced they were calling off their indefinite fast against corruption at 5 pm on Friday and said they would seek a referendum on forming a political alternative.

Hazare told the gathering that the government was not listening to them and was not willing to pass the Jan Lokpal bill, and asked them if the people wanted a political alternative to which the crowd cheered, “Yes, yes.”

Rallying around: Supporters of anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare assembled at India Gate for a march yesterday. Hazare said he will not join the system but will support it from outside. Pics/AFP

Hazare then said, “The time has come to give a political alternative.” He added, “There is no harm in giving a political alternative, but only those people should go to parliament who love the country and have a clean background.”

Corrupt barred
Hazare added that if he decides to support a political alternative, “then I should be sure that no corrupt person has reached parliament. If you want to change the government, then we need to plan and make a system”.

He also proposed a kind of a referendum on the political alternative, saying the activists would seek the opinion of 6.5 lakh gram sabhas, or village councils, on whether they would support such a move. And “if 4 lakh gram sabhas vow to support us, then we can give an alternative.”

Inspired by politics
Welcoming the decision to end their fast, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said their move to form a political alternative would make them realise the responsibilities and compulsions of being in politics.

Soni said people associated with Anna Hazare always seemed to be inspired by politics as they had been making comments about members of parliament and criticising them. She said the Congress had always held that Team Anna was goaded by politics and it is a good thing that they have come out in the open with their intention.

“They will realise what are compulsions, what are responsibilities. Particularly working with honesty is not easy,” Soni said. She said that only Team Anna knew what the purpose of its fast at Jantar Mantar was. Referring to their demand for a strong Lokpal bill, Soni said the government has already got the legislation passed in the Lok Sabha and it was now with the select committee of the Rajya Sabha. 

Questions that bother Hazare
While floating the proposal for a political alternative, Hazare sought the opinion of people on a few crucial questions, before deciding on the move.

Here are some of the questions he put forward:

 >> What should be the criteria for selection of candidates to ensure that only those people who love the country and want to serve society are selected?
>>  What if the wrong or corrupt people get elected, and how can this be checked?
>>  What if those who get elected turn corrupt?
>> The move for a political alternative is to seek change in the system and not change of rule. How can that be ensured?
>>  How can it be ensured that people cast their votes without the lure of money?
>>  From where will the money come to fight elections, and how to bring transparency in election funding?

Hazare asked his supporters to reply to these questions in 2-3 days.

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