The following is the full text of Arvind Kejriwal’s letter to the followers of India Against Corruption and Anna Hazare in which he tries to answer those who have opposed Anna’s move to enter the political arena.
There are mixed reactions at the end of Anshan. The general populace has welcomed our initiative of providing a political alternative to achieve the goal of the movement. More than 90% of the people surveyed by various channels and also by IAC have welcomed this decision.
But a few of our friends who are very dear to us and who have put their mind body and soul into this movement for the past two years are feeling hurt. Notwithstanding the fact that they are small in number, it is they who have toiled selflessly and nurtured this movement, served the nation and loved me like anything.
They have written emails and SMS to me blaming us of cheating them. Their blame is that the movement has been sold. There can not be 100% unanimity on any decision. Nonetheless, I write this letter to recap all the incidences as they happened with the hope that after going through this letter they don’t doubt our integrity at the least.
They are basically asking two questions. 1) How and why was it decided to enter politics? 2) Why was the Anshan called off abruptly? Some of them charge that the whole Anshan was a sham, with its outcome pre-decided.
I hereby present the events as they transpired with full honesty. It is entirely possible that these may appear empty words to you today. However, I believe that opinions will change looking back at my past record and my future conduct.
We started the Anshan honestly, fully prepared to sacrifice ourselves. I am a diabetic. If the anshan was pre-planned, the easier way would have been to end it in two days taking recourse to the fact that I was diabetic. Nobody in the world believed that I could surpass 48 hours.
If it was all preplanned, if my will power was weak, if I lacked courage, or did not have the will to sacrifice, the easier route was to end it all in two days on the pretext of doctor’s advice. Thereafter, on the seventh day, Delhi Police too ordered us to get hospitalized as counselled by government doctors.
My Ketone levels by that time had increased substantially. According to doctors, it was way above the dangerous level. If my intentions were bad, or if I was a coward, it would have been very convenient for me to get hospitalized. But we stayed on against the doctors’ advice.
In the meanwhile, Annaji was monitoring our health very closely. He was very worried about the health of all of us who were fasting. It became obvious to him during the course that the government was not going to accept our demands of SIT and Lokpal Bill.
On the other hand, from around the 3rd or 4th day itself, people started demanding that Annaji should provide a political alternative to the nation. People were shouting slogans, distributing pamphlets, raising banners demanding this. The same type of message was coming to Annaji from all over the country.
Although the number of people at Jantar Mantar started increasing, Jantar Mantar is not the whole nation. The energy level and anger visible in August last year was missing in other places across India. Why did this happen? After speaking to people across the country, we found out that people had stopped believeing that coming out on to the streets was the only solution.
People concluded that howsoever long we fast, the government will neither give SIT, nor LokPal. At the same time, people had faith in the leadership of the movement. They were losing faith on the method of taking to street and anshan in order to achieve our goals. For this reason, people were not taking holidays to take to the streets. They needed renewed hope. They sent message that if Annaji were to provide a political alternative, people’s hope would be rekindled.
On the 9th day of the fast, 23 eminent people wrote to us. They appealed to end the fast and provide the nation with a political alternative. What should be done next? It was decided to ask the people. The question was put to the people. Two days looked a reasonable timeframe in which the answers would be solicited for a decision to be taken thereafter. However, many television channels imediately started their own surveys.
In a matter of few hours, the opinion and reactions of thousands of people from all over the country was obtained. We too received many reactions on emails, sms and phone calls. A massive majority of more that 90% of people were demanding a political alternative.
Considering all this, Annaji after consulting all, decided that he would give the nation a political alternative and it was pointless to carry on fasting. Annaji announced this from the stage.
90% of people surveyed through different media said that Annaji should provide a political alternative. If we were to disregard the public opinion, we would be called stubborn, insensitive to junta’s feelings and branded as undemocratic . Now, when we submit to the will of a huge majority of people, we are blamed of bad intent from the outset.
Present day politics is a quagmire. We do not take pleasure in this quagmire. In the next two years, if the government enacts JanlokPal, Law to Swaraj, Right to Reject and Right to Recall laws we will exit politics straightaway.
You may disagree with the decision but I assure you that the intent of those taking the decision was never bad. I reiterate what I said on my last day of fast. Providing a political alternative does not mean we end the movement. It means that we are expanding the movement and making it bigger.
Till today the movement was on the streets, from now on we will fight on the streets as well as in the parliament. You have participated in this movement selflessly till date. I hope that you will continue to do so with the same sentiments. You have adored me incessantly. I hope, I will continue to receive the same love and wishes from your side.
Announcing a political alternative is quiet easy. But to provide a clean and meaningful alternative is very difficult. We are faced with innumerable challenges and issues. I am highlighting a few of them below and I hope to elicit your views on them.
1) What are present day India’s problems and what are the solutions according to you? What is the India of your dreams?
2) How to select candidates? We want this to happen through people participation.
3) How to ensure that once elected, they don’t renegade and turn corrupt?
4) We do not want ours to be just another political party. This party will now be the movement. According to you, what should be its form?
I look forward to your response. You may send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or to our address at A-119, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad -201010, Uttar Pradesh