Allegations had been flying thick and fast that huge sums had exchanged hands to break Team Anna. Tall claims were being made by self-styled political lobbyists, purportedly backed by the state government, that they had played a vital role in breaking Anna’s fast at Ramleela Grounds by keeping key members of Team Anna in the dark. Anna Hazare has now hit back at these allegations through a blog
Anna Hazare had drawn the attention of India—and the world—during his fast at Delhi's Ramleela Grounds. Of course, since the whole political establishment was shaken up by this movement, a number of allegations were being hurled at this crusader and Team Anna. He has decided to hit back through a medium that was being used by the glitterati, journalists and of course, the youth. Anna has slammed these claims through his newly-started blog annahazaresays.wordpress.com. And the number of hits that the blog has received in just 24hrs is a huge 1,56,000!
History has recorded the historic breaking of Anna Hazare's fast at Ramleela Grounds in Delhi on 28th August, with two young girls feeding him tender coconut water with honey. The nationwide campaign steered by social reformer Anna Hazare to impress upon the government to bring in a strong anti-corruption law, received unprecedented support, turning it into the most dynamic and effective peoples' movement ever witnessed since Independence.
Team Anna—comprising stalwarts from different fields namely Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodiya have become household names and form the core team of Anna in the 'India against Corruption' campaign.
Anna, presently at Ralegan Siddhi, Maharashtra, is waiting intently for the outcome of the Lokpal Bill which the government has promised to bring in during the winter session of Parliament while Team Anna members led by Arvind Kejriwal are touring states which will face elections soon, asking people to vote only those candidates who back a strong Lokpal Bill.
While Ralegan Siddhi has become a pilgrimage centre, with hundreds of people thronging it for a glimpse of Anna from all parts of the country (including foreigners), Anna is also receiving inputs of different aspects of the historic fast that he undertook. Some disturbing claims made by self-styled mediators and political lobbyists in Maharashtra that they were the ones who brought a truce between the government and Anna and helped him end his fast, has spurred Anna to begin direct communication with the people. Anna has entered the cyberspace and will interact through the blogs— annahazaresays.wordpress.com and annahazare.blogspot.com.
In his first-ever role as a blogger, he minced no words about mediators, who were portraying themselves as his saviour. His blog on 29th September states: "As talks progressed regarding me giving up my fast, the people who came to meet my team members, the middle-man, the Minister—all of them had different versions, different assurances. Till the last moment they tried to break the movement. It was the responsibility of the government to scrutinise the people it had sent for negotiations—whether they were corrupt or had a clean image—I held talks with them considering they were Government representatives! They were not here to show their gratitude towards the movement. They were mere government messengers carrying words to-and-fro on both sides.
Reiterating that breaking the fast was his own decision, he writes: "It was only when my inner voice permitted me (that) I broke my fast after getting assurance from the government. The reason I am clearing the misconceptions here is I have come to understand some government agents tried to propagate and create an image that it was the handiwork of their favourite ministers because of which I gave up my fast. I came across articles of self-praise, interviews published by them. This is false propaganda. In my fight for the truth I have never ever taken decisions that went against my line of thought. The people who claim that it is because of them that the movement could be curbed are the people who are against the Indian common man and enemy of this second freedom struggle. Such people in order to end the fight against corruption are resorting to corrupt methods, as is seen. This is a probable danger which we should all be wary of."
Stalwart print and television journalist of Maharashtra, Raju Parulekar who was instrumental in inspiring Anna to start direct contact with people elaborates on this move. Within just 24 hours, the blog www.annahazaresays.wordpress.com has already had 1,65,000 hits. Mr Parulekar says, "We all heard Annaji's thoughts from various sections and people with vested interests. I realised that they were misinterpreting Anna's thoughts and giving their own versions, convenient to them. On my recent visit to Ralegan, I asked Anna as to why don't you directly get connected with people? To this he said that already his Team was using modern technology like Facebook, Twitter and blogs for the movement. So, I said, why not you? He promptly agreed and that's how we hurriedly started www.annahazaresays.worpress.com in Marathi and English, as also annahazaresays at Facebook and Twitter. Very soon, we would be launching it in German and French languages too, after my return on 11th October from France."
Noted RTI (Right to Information) activist from Pune, Vijay Kumbhar states, "There were too many discrepancies about Anna's thoughts and words which were being amplified by people who had no knowledge about his vision or portrayed themselves very close to Anna and made it seem as if Anna was going by their directives, although they might have had just a photo-op with him. Now Anna's heart will be directly open to the people with his signature and that's an important step towards removing any kind of misinterpretation. This movement is too important to be tampered with."
Allegedly, if reliable sources are to be believed, money has allegedly exchanged hands with the beneficiaries being a few individuals. The directive being to break Team Anna, particularly to break the faith and confidence of Anna with Arvind Kejriwal. There is no black & white proof to put down this truth lucidly, but allegedly the governments at the Centre and at the state are trying hard to break up Team Anna. However, both don't know that Anna is made of a "fiercely independent mind and even if Rs1,000 crore has been distributed, he will not be swayed by any 'influence'", proudly states his close associate Pradeep Munot.
Some of the names of such mediators curiously thrown up by a leading English newspaper pointed to a spiritual leader from Maharashtra and Vilasrao Deshmukh himself. Curiously, on 3rd September, a leading Marathi daily published an article by Abhinandan Thorat, a well-known political lobbyist for politicians in Maharashtra, claiming that he and his men were responsible for bringing in a compromise formula between the government at the centre and Anna. The link to this article is:
Interestingly, the article carries a photograph too showing Thorat and his team members handing over the draft to Vilasrao Deshmukh who was sent as a mediatory by the government.
Mr Thorat has been given a byline to the story. He states in the article,
"When Anna began his fast, it took the nation by storm. Whenever Anna does any agitation, the Chintan group is always very active along with him and this time too, I and my subordinates went to Delhi. On 16th August, he was arrested and subsequently released in the evening—but he refused to leave Tihar Jail.
Thereafter, there was a dramatic turn of events as the Chintan Group comprising Appa Dingankar, Balaji Rajput and Capt Manoj Tayal met Anna in Tihar Jail.
"On the directive of the Chintan Group the government asked additional chief secretary, Home, Umesh Sarangi and additional director health Dr Sharad Sabnis to get in touch with Anna for negotiations. Anna had a detailed discussion with both of them and these issues were conveyed to the government.
"On 19th and 20th, while Anna was fasting, behind the curtains, these discussions were still going on, and in it, Appa Dingankar and Balaji were involved. Since Anna was angry on Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram, the government asked Salman Khurshid to talk to Team Anna. But Team Anna had discussions with Khurshid and later on with Pranab Mukherjee but they proved to be futile.
"On the 10th day, as per the suggestion of the Chintan group, Vilasrao Deshmukh was appointed the Government's emissary and thereafter Suresh Pathare, Dada Pathare, Appa and Balaji met Vilasrao. Anna's consent was sought for meeting with Vilasrao Deshmukh. Vilasrao met Annaji along with the members of the Chintan group at Ramleela Maidan and hence the dialogue between Anna and the government started. Anna wanted some assurances in writing from the government and hence Anna himself made the draft and handed it over to the Chintan group to be given to Vilasrao Deshmukh.
"After Vilasrao Deshmukh handed over this letter to the Prime Minister, a high-level meeting took place. Anna and Vilasrao too spoke to each other on phone at that time.
"On the 11th day, a rough draft of the letter was sent to Anna through the Chintan group. Team Anna improved the draft again and then it was sent to Vilasrao through the Chintan group.
"On the 12th day of the fast, it was decided to discuss the issues raised by Anna on Jan Lokpal in Parliament. While this was on, on the same day Appa, Balaji, Narendra and Dr Anirudda Dharmadhikari met Anna. Subsequently, Anna and Vilasrao had a telephonic conversation on the final agreed draft. After the discussion in Parliament, Vilasrao brought the letter along with Balaji to Anna on the stage. Anna earlier had not entertained politicians but Vilasrao was not shown any disrespect. Anna asked Vilasrao to read out the letter in front of the people.
"When Anna left his fast, the whole nation celebrated the victory. I too had tears in my eyes as I played a very crucial and vital role in ensuring that this issue was resolved and Anna broke his fast.
"This article that has appeared in Chintan Adesh—a Marathi fortnightly, privately circulated to the who's who of Maharashtra including politicians, bureaucracy etc, is edited by Mr Abhinandan Thorat, chairman, Chintan Group. The dateline is 1st to 15thSeptember, 2011.
The article reads the same as above except for the following points:
"On 17th August, at 9 pm, Appa Dingankar, Balaji Rajput and Capt Manoj Tayal reached Tihar Jail in DG's office and Anna was very happy to see them. Suresh and Dada Pathare hugged Anna while Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal were shocked and they were wondering who are these people who came inside and are meeting Anna?
"After Salman Khurshid was appointed by the government for discussion with Team Anna, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan were discussing this issue for five days, however because of indifferent approach it did not lead to any fruitful conclusion.
"On the 11th day, the government made one rough draft and gave it to Anna. Anna, of course, did think on his own, but he had an elaborate discussion with the Chintan group team and then after a few more improvements, on the 11th day, it was sent back to Vilasrao Deshmukh. All these developments were happening for 12 days and hence the Chintan group got this opportunity to help Anna when he was agitating in Delhi." (Unquote).
Anna now has laid to rest any claims.
Anna through his blog has stated that "This movement still has a long way to go and very soon it will acquire a non-violent but intense flavour of nation-wide revolution." He also says that, "People belonging to various political parties are not aware of the boiling volcano in the minds of the common man against their corrupt ways and super-luxurious way of life. I believe, very soon, they will come face-to-face with the reality and this will be done by the people and the youth of India.''
All I can say is "Happy Blogging" and let truth prevail!
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected]).
NALCO has identified Kakarapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) - 3 & 4 project for development, jointly with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd at a cost of Rs11,450 crore.
State-run aluminium major NALCO today said it plans to diversify into nuclear power generation by investing Rs 11,450 crore jointly with Nuclear Power Corporation of India in a project.
Addressing at the annual general meeting, NALCO CMD B L Bagra said that the company has identified Kakarapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS) - 3 & 4 project for development, jointly with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd at a cost of Rs11,450 crore.
The recommendation for the investment is under consideration by the government, he said.
"The company earned a net profit after tax of Rs 1,069 crore in 2010-11 as compared to Rs 814 crore in previous year, registering a jump of 31%," Bagra said.
Similarly, sales revenue during the year at Rs 5,959 crore was higher by Rs 904 crore, an increase of 18% as compared to the previous year, he said.
Rise in profit was because of higher sales, Bagra said adding the results would have been still better, but for the adverse impact of exchange rate of rupee on sales, which made a dent of Rs 159 crore during the year.
Operating cost was higher by Rs 399 crore, an increase of 10% over previous year due to increase in the prices of coal, fuel oil and wage revision, he said.
NALCO achieved highest-ever domestic metal sale of 340,752 tonne surpassing the previous record of 289,032 tonne in 2009-10. It was 17.9% higher than last year.
Total metal sale of the company in 2010-11 was 438,952 tonne, which is the highest-ever, surpassing previous best of 435,979 tonne achieved during the previous year, he said.
In the late afternoon, NALCO was trading at around Rs61.85 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.73% up from the previous close.