Ghaziabad, Oct 29: Battered by allegations of financial misconduct, the core committee of Team Anna met today but ruled out disbanding itself saying it will not be cowed down by government's “attempts to target its members”.
The committee also defended key member Arvind Kejriwal from allegations of diversion of lakhs of rupees from the anti-corruption movement to an NGO run by him saying that was a decision taken by the core committee under the aegis of Hazare.
Unfazed by criticism on the Team Anna's opposition of Congress in Hissar by-election, the meeting asked the government to ensure passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter session of Parliament failing which they would oppose Congress in the assembly elections in five states scheduled early next year.
Hazare, who has been on an indefinite vow of silence in his village Ralegan Siddhi, and other key members including Justice Santosh Hegde, Medha Patkar and Vincent M Concessao did not attend today's meeting in which Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Prashant and Shanti Bhushan and Manish Sisodia were among those present.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Kejriwal said the meeting felt there was absolutely no need for dismantling the core committee.
“The meeting was of the view that lakhs of volunteers and along with the core committee members have played a significant role in the movement and there was no question of dismantling the committee.
“In seeking to divert attention, the government is attempting to tarnish the movement by targeting the individuals. We will give a befitting reply to the government and not allow it to weaken the movement,” a resolution passed at the meeting said.
Kejriwal said resolutions were passed in the meeting in unanimously and there were no differences. Both Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan said there was always scope for restructuring and strengthening of the core committee but today in present conditions there was no need for it.
“The central committee will go on. There can be need for such a course in future,” Bhushan said.
Bhushan and Kejriwal will be going to Ralegan Siddhi to brief Hazare about the deliberations at today's meeting. Kejriwal alleged that government was spending huge amount of public money to attack the core committee members and they would not allow attempts to divert peoples' attention from Jan Lokpal Bill to succeed.
He said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's letter to Hazare on passage of the Bill came too late. If it had come earlier they may not have campaigned against Congress in Hissar.
On allegations by former Team Anna member Swami Agnivesh's allegations that Rs 80 lakh in donations to India Against Corruption headed by Hazare was diverted to Kejriwal's NGO, Kejriwal said it was a decision taken by Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi that the cheques would be credited in the account of PCRF run by him.
“All the expenses are accounted for and are available on website,” he said.