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Team Anna crumbles, two core members quit

New Delhi: In fresh turmoil in Team Anna, two prominent activists P V Rajagopal and `Waterman` Rajinder Singh today quit its Core Committee objecting to the movement taking a "political turn" and claimed that it was mired in confusion.

The decision to launch anti-Congress campaign in Hisar, which both claimed was not taken by the Core Committee, appeared to be one of the reasons for these two activists to quit the panel, though Rajagopal says that the Team was "putting pressure" on him not to do so.

"I dissociate with the Team. The Team is turning political. There were statements indicating that including that on Hisar," Singh said. Rajagopal, who is in Kerala`s Attappadi as part of an all- India yatra for land rights, wrote to Core Committee Convenor Arvind Kejriwal about his decision while Singh said he did not feel the need to write any such letter as he had not sought any membership in the first place.

The fresh trouble came amid Hazare`s flip-flop on Prashant Bhushan that the Core Committee will decide on the continuance of the lawyer, who had created a controversy by advocating plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, in the team. "I have sent in the letter expressing my difficulty in continuing in the team. They (the Team) have told me not to take any decision like this. I am in the midst of an all-India yatra," Rajagopal told PTI from Attappadi.

Asked whether all the decisions by Team Anna were taken after due consultations, he said there was a problem in coordination. "Every individual was speaking and it was Team`s decision. There was no Core Group decision on Hisar. I will have difficulty in owning up decisions of individuals."

Singh, a Magsasay award winner known for his activities in water conservation, said he was never that active in the Team. "When I felt that the Team is taking a political turn, I decided it is the day to quit," he said.

Rajagopal said the developments in Delhi were "too far for me" and that he was not comfortable with opinions of certain individuals being considered as the decision of the Team. A close aide of Rajagopal said the activist decided to quit as the "dimensions" of the Team were not clear and that during the yatra, they were forced to face questions on the decisions of Hazare and other members though he was not involved in the decision making.

Serious differences appeared to have cropped up in Team Anna on some important issues facing his campaign in the past one week after Hazare`s latest position that the Core Committee of his campaign will meet and decide whether Prahsant Bhushan will continue in his team or not.

In two days, Hazare has changed his stand on Bhushan, who is in the eye of the storm for his advocacy of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, thrice, much to the dismay of some of his team members. Hazare has also tweaked his campaign against Congress, saying he will work with Congress across the country if the UPA government brings a strong Lokpal Bill in the Winter session of Parliament and keeps its words on other reforms.

Hazare also decided to wait till the end of Winter Session to embark on a `yatra` in Uttar Pradesh, contrary to the earlier decision of hitting the streets against Congress in the state soon after Dusshera.

The sources said his close aides in Ralegan Siddhi have managed to convince him to tone down his anti-Congress rhetoric.

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