New Delhi: Amid reports that Anna Hazare was against forming a political party, speculations are rife that Team Anna will test political waters first in next year's Delhi Assembly polls, before taking a plunge in the 2014 General elections. Sources say that they will give a miss to elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Core members of the now disbanded Team Anna are meeting at Prashant Bhushan's residence to decide on their politcal future. This, amid reports suggesting that anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was reluctant to be associated with a political party. Dismissing speculations, Arvind Kejriwal said that there was no rift within the group. He said that propaganda machinery was working overtime to create differences between Anna and them.
Team member Kiran Bedi tweeted, "Anna has said this before... Both the options are open..Those who are ready to form political party can go ahead with the option & those who feel movement is fine, can go ahead with the movement. There is no confusion & conflict...I think the country needs both option."
Sources in India Against Corruption (IAC) said a large number of volunteers in a meeting on Saturday pitched in for fighting the Delhi Assembly elections first.
This could mean the activists, who decided to turn their anti-graft movement into a political one, will give a miss to assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
The sources said the volunteers raised the demand at a meeting on Saturday attended by Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai among others.
Kejriwal told volunteers that their first focus will be on Congress-ruled Delhi. He also asked volunteers to start working in all the 70 constituencies in Delhi, they said.
The decision early this month to take a political plunge had created a rift in the Team Anna with a section of members like Santosh Hegde opposing it.
There were also claims from a section of the team that Hazare was not keen to take a political plunge but was forced by some of his colleagues, an allegation denied by Kejriwal.
Though it had made clear its intention to have a shot at power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on an anti-corruption plank, Team Anna had not talked about contesting the Assembly elections slated this year-end.
Anna Hazare and his team have been targeting the UPA government on Lokpal issue for the past 16 months but were earlier undecided whether they would target the BJP governments in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh this year-end and Karnataka next year by contesting elections there.
Team Anna had talked about a political alternative which they had claimed will be people-centric.
Defending its decision to go political, Team Anna had said their numerous protests and fasts did not yield any result as the government stonewalled their demands and showed little interest in bringing those guilty of big scams to book.
Team Anna on Sunday claimed that the decision to turn the anti-corruption movement political was Anna Hazare's and a "malicious" campaign has been working overtime to drive a wedge between them and the 74-year-old social activist.
Breaking his silence over claims by a section of Team Anna members that Hazare was against forming a political party, activist Arvind Kejriwal alleged a "propaganda machinery" was working overtime to "drive wedge" between 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," Kejriwal tweeted on Sunday morning.
(With additional inputs from PTI)