Activist Anna Hazare, who ends his hunger strike in Delhi this evening, has accused the government of ill-disguised attempts to divide his team. As proof of this, he has said that Law Minister Salman asked him to conceal their meeting in Pune last month from Team Anna members. Anna, who is 75, has also said that a letter written by another minister, V Narayanasamy, was worded to make it appear as if Anna was holding private negotiations with the government over the Lokpal Bill, the anti-graft legislation that Anna has been championing.
In a column in Tehelka magazine, Mr Khurshid offers a different version of events. He says that a common friend with who he was staying in Pune suggested the meeting with Anna. The minister writes, "He specifically said the matter must remain confidential for a while till we succeeded in our efforts. Subsequently, he even told the interlocutors that he did not care if the IAC (India Against Corruption) members found out about the meeting. Yet when they did, by receiving the letter by an innocent slip, Anna went ballistic, saying it was conspiracy to break his movement." http://www.tehelka.com/story_main53.asp?filename=Ne110812INDIA.asp
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At that breakfast meeting, Mr Khurshid says, the activist seemed to accept that the version of the Lokpal bill that was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December included the main features that Anna wanted for the new national ombudsman agency. He had listed three of these as non-negotiable when he ended his fast, upon the government's request, in August last year.
"He also said that Gandhiji had said that you cannot always get complete satisfaction in an andolan and should be happy with the substantial success. So not everything sought in the Lokpal was to be insisted upon," the minister claims.
"When I expressed doubts about the intentions of his colleagues, he said he knew of their shortcomings but had no choice because the movement would be damaged. But if they did something very wrong, he was prepared to desert them," Mr Khurshid says.
The minister says of Anna, "I still believe that he is basically honest, but weak." He also describes him as "Ruthless in letting his followers kill people's reputations with their barbs of corruption."