Anna Hazare’s new team wants an old name, says we are India Against Corruption

Anna Hazare

Rajagopal also said: "I did not attend today's meeting because I am travelling. But I am willing to join the team provided it is called Team India and not Team Anna and it broadbases itself to address the issues of the real poor rather than remaining an anti-corruption movement of the middle class. Identification of the movement as Team Anna has hurt it rather than helped it."

The new group will work for setting up a Janlokpal as well as for laws for electoral reforms and also "oppose anti-people policies that leave the country at the mercy of foreign companies, which are taking over our water, land and forests, depriving farmers".

Bulk of the new core team members were part of the old IAC core committee that Hazare disbanded in August, with the notable omission being agriculturist Davender Sharma, who is known to be close to Swami Ramdev. Sharma's name had been there in the original list but, sources said, some members had reservations about his open association with the yoga teacher, particularly given the recurrent corruption allegations against him.

Hazare hinted at a massive expansion soon with 40 more members. While dodging a question about Sharma's exclusion, he said: "I did not want to foist names from above. Now that this committee is in place, members will democratically decide on including new faces. As of now V K Singh will be a special invitee to the core committee. We will have Muslims, tribals and Dalit leaders."

The new team may organise a convention in Delhi later this month and Hazare said that the target is to develop a four-tier system, down to the block level with 40 volunteers. Patkar said the new core committee will attempt to bring people's movements from around the country together. "We will challenge Parliament through people power," she said.

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