As Team Anna gets set to take the political plunge, sources have told NDTV that the Sangh Parivar may do a rethink on its support to the activists and may rework its own strategy. According to sources, Sangh Parivar, which includes parties like the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, is worried that Team Anna may take the anti-corruption plank from them. Opposition parties like the BJP have been severely critical of the Congress-led UPA government over the corruption allegations it faces while Team Anna has been championing the anti-graft legislation - the Lokpal Bill - since last year. (Watch: Will Team Anna's party achieve what movement could not?)
Sources also tell NDTV that the Sangh Parivar has concerns over Anna campaigning in the upcoming elections, especially with state assembly elections scheduled in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year. Both states have a BJP-led government. The sources add the Sangh Parivar has put all its support systems for Team Anna on hold for now. Top leaders from BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh may meet soon to discuss their future course of action over Team Anna.
Before ending its hunger fast in Delhi on Friday, Team Anna announced at Jantar Mantar they are forming a political party which will contest the elections. However, Anna Hazare, 75, said he will not run for office, but will support his aides. (Read: How Team Anna says its party will differ)
It was Anna's right-hand man, Arvind Kejriwal, visibly weak after a ten-day hunger strike, who announced the activists' political agenda. "You will name our party," he told the crowd at Anna's sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar."
In a lengthy speech before ending his 10-day hunger strike, Mr Kejriwal elaborated on what the new party will stand for - transparency, better education, secularism, the poor farmer, the ripped-off aam admi. "This party will not be like others...the public will decide our agenda. We don't want to win elections...we want to challenge the existing parties. The donations we receive will be posted on our website...this will dare the others to follow," he added. (Watch: Arvind Kejriwal's speech)
Some supporters of Anna have warned that a formal entry into politics is
more likely to end as a mis-step rather than a game-changer. "One has
to think a 100 times before taking a plunge into electoral politics. If
he joins politics, then the momentum gained should not be lost. When
people with noble intentions join politics, either they don't last long
or they don't achieve much," said activist Medha Patkar.
"I don't think Team Anna should get into politics because we are not
ready for elections," said Justice Santosh Hegde, who has been a core
member of Anna's group, but has often differed with the others on their
However, Mr Kejriwal said on Friday that if the government agrees to urgently pass the ant-corruption Lokpal Bill and introduce electoral reforms like the Right to Recall under-performing MPs and the Right to Reject unworthy candidates and nullify an election, Team Anna will cancel its plans.
Team Anna says that the government has proved it has no interest in cleansing the country of graft. The activists believe the antidote lies in the Lokpal Bill, which Anna brought onto the big stage with him through a series of hunger strikes last year. The longest, in August, lasted 16 days, and made Anna the centrifugal force in a middle-class push against corruption. Anna ignored appeals from the Prime Minister and others to end his fast; he relented only after MPs promised to urgently debate the Lokpal Bill, which provides the blueprint for a national ombudsman agency with the powers to investigate and prosecute government servants.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last year, but has tripped in the Rajya Sabha. Anna's activists say without it, there is no chance of reintroducing probity in the governing class.