Minutes before Team Anna ended its hunger strike on stage at the Jantar Mantar venue of their protest, they announced that they are forming a political party, which will contest the elections, with an aim to take their anti-corruption struggle to Parliament.
Anna's right-hand man, Arvind Kejriwal, visibly weak after a ten-day hunger strike, announced their political agenda. The team of activists says it has no money, and says it is clear that the party will be led by public feedback.
- Among the things that Team Anna wants people to advise on is the name of the new political party.
- They have also asked people to advise them on what kind of changes the country needs.
- They want suggestions on how to ensure that their candidates will not become corrupt once they are elected.
Arvind Kejriwal said that the movement, when political, would need people to come forward and join.
He also said that Team Anna would be happy to cancel its political plans if the government agreed to urgently pass the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill and electoral reforms like the Right to Recall and the Right to Reject. "We have no great love for entering politics," he said.
Mr Kejriwal has invited the feedback on the team's gmail id.
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 tactics.
But Team Anna's decision has found support in some quarters. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hailed Team Anna's intention to provide a political alternative by joining electoral politics. "I welcome the intention of Team Anna to launch a political party," Mr Kumar told reporters in Patna.