Hazare met prominent Pune citizens and activists to discuss the way forward for his movement. He is scheduled to have similar consultations in New Delhi and other cities over the next few days, including meetings with Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and other former Team Anna members.
Asked if there was a rift between him and former Team Anna members led by Kejriwal over the formation of a political party, Hazare said, "It is obvious. Despite the rift, we have one single aim. This (rift) is not like (what happens with) political parties. He (Kejriwal) will go his way and I will go mine. I have always stated that I don't want to form a political party and contest elections. My path is different. I had made it clear at Jantar Mantar."
Despite repeated calls to his cellphone, Kejriwal couldn't be reached on Tuesday.
Hazare felt that joining politics would take him away from his goals of serving the nation and society. "Politics is not service. It is all about selfishness," he said. "I told them (core committee members) we have one common aim — to have a corruption-free nation. If you want to start a political party, go ahead and contest elections. I will go back to the people and continue with my work. I will not support all candidates nominated by Arvind's party. I will check their background and character and support a few appropriate ones."
Hazare said a strong Lokpal bill and the right to reject option remained on top of the agenda of his movement.
Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan had recently evaded questions about a growing discord within members of former Team Anna. They had said that the formation of a political party would be decided only after consultations with Hazare. While Team Anna sources had indicated that prominent members of the group weren't happy about joining politics, Kejriwal and Bhushan had argued that it was needed to provide a political alternative.
Activists who participated in the discussions with Hazare on Tuesday endorsed his stand. Prominent ecologist Madhav Gadgil said, "Joining politics will not help. It is better to continue with the mass movement and bring about a change." Activist Narendra Dabholkar said Hazare will hold more consultations and then come out with a "mission statement" to guide the movement.
Last month, two prominent Anna supporters, Medha Patkar and Santosh Hegde, had questioned the idea of floating a political party. Patkar had said, "One has to ensure that the people, who are awakened, remain so. One has to think 100 times before taking a plunge into electoral politics. If he (Hazare) joins politics, then the momentum gained would be lost. When people with noble intentions join politics, either they don't last long or they don't achieve much."
Hegde had said, "I don't support Anna Hazare and his team starting a political party."
Hazare, meanwhile, said he would travel across states and gauge the public mood. "But I will not succumb to any public pressure to form a political party or be part of any party. The country is awakened and people have faith that a change is possible. The people will have the final authority to decide the fate of a political party and social movement. The people will reject anyone treading the wrong path," he said.
2010: India Against Corruption formed with Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi
Jan 30, 2011: IAC's first public event: march from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar demanding immediate passage of Jan Lokpal Bill
April 5-9: Anna's first fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Jantar Mantar, forcing govt to set up a joint drafting committee comprising ministers and Team Anna members
April to July: Joint drafting committee fails to evolve an agreed draft
Oct 17: Team's first brush with politics; campaigns against Congress in Hisar LS byelection
Dec 27-29: Anna holds fast at Azad Maidan in Mumbai; Lokpal debated in parliament; fast called off after poor crowd response
July 25 to Aug 3, 2012: Fast by Kejriwal ending in resolve to promote alternative politics as a strategy against corruption
Aug 2: Anna drops hint that team members of his group will join poll fray
Aug 3: Kejriwal vows to uproot corrupt UPA-2
Aug 6: Anna disbands Team saying group has outlived its utility
Sept 17: Kejriwal says 76% people surveyed in a study favour activists forming a political party
Sept 18: Anna says politics won't deliver better future for people; asks anti-corruption activists to contact him in Ralegan Siddhi