Am on a pilgrimage trip to Gujarat till the 12th June. Unfortunately, my datacard was also not working, so had no access to the net. Just one day (I think 30th May), I phoned Mannu and asked him to post in my account exhorting all to work towards Anna’s Mumbai meetings on 5,6 and 7th by giving my password. Today, as my internet has started, I find that all hell has broken loose. I shall try and clarify all that has happened.
The Maharashtra Lokayukta tour of Anna had been planned by Bhrastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan (BVJA) to culminate on 5th,6th and 7th in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. Because IAC was kept out of the meetings and the tour, some of the volunteers felt that it was unfair that IAC was ignored, and felt that the movement started by IAC was hijacked by BVJA.
I exhorted the volunteers to leave aside all differences and work towards a united approach for Anna’s meetings. But BVJA local president Bhavesh Patel started playing politics by trying to isolate me and talking to many IAC volunteers to choose between Anna and me (and many many other things to undermine me – including telling the TV channels that he has problems with me). The volunteers felt that it was unfair to ask them to make a choice as they had respect for both Anna and me. The volunteers felt that the past year and half’s efforts of making IAC Mumbai strong, decentralised, internally democratic and a powerful force to fight corruption was being nullified, and that it was their duty to protect the gains that have been made. So, Naresh, Preeti, Anjali, Ravi Srivastava and Piyush wrote an email to the core committee asking them to intervene and resolve the issues and make a decision to enable smooth positive working in Mumbai.
This email was leaked by someone along with some documents against me (some old story of Lok Hsg, where I used to work) to the Mumbai Mirror (I dont know if any other newspapers have been given this email and my Lok stories). The MM reporter was to make a story which pitted IAC Mumbai against Anna, and he called to take comments. If this story had been published, it would not be true at all. If there has to be a choice between Annaji and me, then I will myself just walk away, I am not a fraction of Anna. I have the highest respect for Annaji, I have not come here to fight Annaji, I have come here to fight for him and for my nation. There is no personal agenda, nor ego, nor desire for name or fame. I actually feel uncomfortable when I am in the limelight, but I force myself to go to the media and speak in lectures because it adds value to the movement. My individuality is subservient to the cause of the movement and the nation.
Last evening, Preeti worked incessantly with the reporter trying to convince him that we are not revolting against Anna and the movement, but trying to resolve the differences between IAC and BVJA by asking the core committee to find a solution that will end this useless internal friction. I read the MM online now and think that the story is much less explosive than I thought earlier. But, it will create lots of anger, frustration, cynicism and suspicions in the minds of the volunteers. I wish that this could have been avoided. But, we have to face it.
This is an internal difference of opinion and we should not allow it to divert us from our mission of Jan Lokpal, Lokayukta and a corruption free India. Y’day’s success in Mumbai and across the nation should be built upon to intensify the movement.
Meanwhile, let us present a united face to the media. And most importantly, let us make Anna’s visit to Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane a roaring success. I am missing you all, and therefore I will come for half a day on the 5th for Anna’s meeting and to meet all of you. Please keep calm and these events will soon pass and we will be back to our usual strength and spirit.