Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the now disbanded Team Anna, has claimed that the decision to turn the anti-corruption movement political was Anna Hazare's. He also alleges that a "malicious" campaign has been working overtime to drive a wedge between the team and the 75-year-old social activist.
Breaking his silence over claims by a section of his aides that Mr Hazare was against forming a political party, activist Mr Kejriwal alleged that a "propaganda machinery" was working overtime to "drive wedge" between Mr Hazare and other activists.
"A malicious campaign is being run that Anna is against political party and that Team thrust it on Anna. Truth is it was Anna's decision," Mr Kejriwal tweeted this morning.
His remarks came a day after reports quoting Team Anna members mentioned that Mr Hazare was against the formation of a party.
On August 3, while calling off his fast, Mr Hazare had announced the formation of a political alternative though he had said he would not be a member of the party.
"Anna clearly directed us to start forming political party. If he says even once that he doesn't want us to do that, we will immediately withdraw. Let Anna say once that he is against pol(itical) party formation, we will immediately withdraw," Mr Kejriwal wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
He claimed that Hazare heeded to public demand and is convinced that there was no road left other than providing political alternative.
"Anna has been fighting corrupt for last 30 years. He is extremely sharp politically n (sic) fiercely independent. Those projecting Anna as a gullible man may try getting Anna to say a single line against his wishes.
"For last one year, Anna (was) being projected as a simpleton, an infant who could be influenced by anyone," he said.
Yesterday, erstwhile Team Anna member Sunita Godara claimed Mr Hazare did not pressurise anyone but said that they were free to choose their own path.
"He told us that if you feel that this new alternative is a better way to fight against corruption and you believe that through this new alternative, you will win this fight then you have the freedom to choose that," she said.
Justice Santosh Hegde, who was also associated with the movement, said he is convinced that Mr Hazare was right in not taking political plunge. "I don't think Team Anna would be able to successfully float a party and find candidates for all constituencies," he said.