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Reply to Qs Raised at Noida Meeting Mail Sent to Arvind Team Anna by Shivendra Singh Chauhan

Reply to Qs Raised at Noida Meeting Mail Sent to Arvind Team Anna by Shivendra Singh Chauhan

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Published by Massy Zafar
Shivendra Singh Chauhan's letter to Arvind Arrogant Kejriwal
Shivendra Singh Chauhan's letter to Arvind Arrogant Kejriwal

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Published by: Massy Zafar on May 25, 2012
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04/03/2014

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Dear Arvind ji,
This is with regards to yesterday’s meeting at Prashant ji’s house in Noida over the issue of managing IndiaAgainst Corruption facebook page. You rejected my request to put your and others’ apprehensions on paper
so that I could write a formal reply but insisted that the communication in the meeting will remain oral. Still, Ifeel, that in the rightness of things, I should write a formal reply and present my views.
1. You alleged that I do not believe in democracy and take decisions unilaterally and that I should be boundby the decisions of core committee or else I will be ejected out of the movement
Reply: This is a people’s movement against corruption and
most of us joined it out of our own free will andnot through a formal process so there is no question of removal by a group
. The movement belongs to us all
and fight against corruption cannot be anybody’s monopoly but it is a herculean task where everyone can
contribute in whichever way possible. As a matter of fact, core committee came into existence much afterlakhs of us became a part of the movement. The members of core committee were not chosen through ademocratic or even a well-defined process. Anna ji, Sri Sri, Ramdev ji, Shanti Bhushan ji, Prashant ji, Dr. Bedi,Justice Hegde, you and some others would have been members of such committee by default and by virtue of their work but what about the rest?It would have been democratic, for instance, had a model similar to selection of Janlokpal members beenadopted for selection of members to CC, like vetting and short listing the names by an independent searchpanel and putting these names on website so thousands of people who took part/supported in this movementcould participate in the process, and so on. This would have also tested the efficacy of Janlokpal model, at leastthe selection part of it. Do you not think that you should have initiated such democratic and transparentprocess instead of nominating members without any selection criteria and foisting them on to volunteers?
With all due respect, do you not think that democracy should start with you and not after you?
 In January this year, you offered me to come in Core Committee to which I replied that I need not be in CC tobe able to contribute to the cause. After which you asked me to join core committee meetings at least, towhich I readily agreed and attended the meeting held at Kaushambi on 27 January. You clearly instructedAswathi to send me prior intimation of future meetings and minutes. This was never followed, why?
Did youhave second thoughts on my attending these meetings and or did your team unilaterally decide that I wasnot to be sent any communication? Also, my question is, by which democratic process was I offered to be incore committee.
 Questions have been raised several times on criteria of selection of core committee members, and alsorequests have been made to incorporate Right to Reject and Right to Recall for core committee members. Whythese requests have been ignored? Such requests have come from volunteers across the country.
Whathappens to democracy here? Why selective usage of democracy?
 Allegation of taking unilateral decisions is untrue since admins were added at your behest always. In MarchGaurav Bakshi and Swati Maliwal were added as admins. Gaurav Bakshi created his own pages and startedpromoting them through the IAC page while Swati was obviously busy in other duties to be able to contributeto the social media platforms. Later on other people were added as admins but could not contribute asrequired for whatever reasons.
(More on this in the attached email from September 6, with subject line
 –
 Gratitude and Grouse).
 A few days back you called me for a meeting at Kaushambi office on May 2, 2012 on the pretext of discussingsome big campaign. This issue was raised in that meeting also and you said that I was the best person todecide on matters related to facebook and you have no doubts on my ability and also that you leave it to meon how it is to be managed in the best way possible.
So, what changed between 2nd May and 19th May?
I
 
have utmost respect for you and was really impressed at your composure but am now forced to ask, were youon purpose quiet on that day so you could attack me at a later day when you have the numbers and vocalpower to back you and shut me up?
2. A three-member panel will take decisions regarding facebook page and its day-to-day functioning
Reply: I think that’s a very good idea and I am
all for it as long as we have a transparent criterion for selectionof such panel. If the proposed three-member panel is going to be selected by core committee which itself hasno democratic basis, it will be another example of arbitrary functioning. How will you ensure that this panel isindependent and unbiased?
On 2nd May at a meeting in Kaushambi office you asked me to promote youheavily on twitter and social media. I said, all your tweets are retweeted by @Janlokpal unless they arepersonal or not related to the cause.
Also, have we come together to further a cause, in this case a stronganti-corruption legislation, or promote individuals? What happens if tomorrow, a three-member committeedirects admins chosen by it to promote any other individual? Is our social media platform a vehicle for self-promotion? Will those admins have the courage to say no to the panel even if they feel that such promotion isnot serving any purpose?Let me put this on record, this facebook page was created on October 27, 2010. Initially it was pushed throughmy previous facebook campaign named Commonwealth Jhel created to raise awareness against corruption inCommonwealth Games. Initial supporters were mostly from this previous campaign and the logo was designedby an artist friend of mine in December 2010 which helped us in branding and spreading the word. Apart fromthe rally in Delhi and to some extent Mumbai etc the January 30, 2011, marches in other cities were conceivedand organised through this page when it had barely 12 thousand fans.
Manish Sisodia was not active in themovement till then.
The statement is not meant to negate or belittle in any way the efforts of civil societyleaders to build the movement from ground up but to put things in perspective. We had a little over 60thousand fans and by April 4, 2011, on the strength of those 60 thousand fans we had built a formidablenetwork in more than 300 cities in India and many abroad. The numbers simply quadrupled by the end of hisfast. Anna ji sat on a fast on April 5, 2011 and in 4 days of his fast, numbers quadrupled and the rest is history.
On April 11, in the meeting held at Sanjay Bhargava’s house, the responsibility of city coordination was taken
over by you and handed over to Neeraj. This decision was taken
‘unilaterally’ and because in one city –
Bhopal
 –
there were problems between two activists Shehla Masood and Rolly Shivhare. It was due to theirinterpersonal relations, but irrespective of the effort that I put in, I was maligned and penalised for this oneaberration and because, I believe, PCRF wanted to keep things under its control. I do not understand why? Factis, the list ceased to grow since that day.
I have noticed this in the past that role of facebook page has been negated, discredited and at times evenelevated as per your convenience. And yet, such a spirited attempt to control it, baffles me.
On May 2, 2012 at the meeting in Kaushambi you told me about the plan regarding participation of Team Annain Himachal Pradesh polls this year. I checked the text matter for parcha and also the pamphlet that issupposed to be distributed there.
The footer of this pamphlet has IAC website URL, helpline number and
email id. It doesn’t have facebook page address.
 
If the facebook page is important, why doesn’t it figure in the
foote
r? Especially, when according to you, ‘Himachal is supposed to be very connected state as far as internetis concerned and social media can be used well there.’
 
 
3. Posts related to Anna do not appear on page and Anna ji’s Maharashtra tour was not given eno
ughcoverage on facebook page
Reply: This is a gross misrepresentation and facts speak otherwise:
From 5
th
May, 2012 till date
Total Posts
35
Posts related to Anna
10
Other posts 3 - Candle march for slain RTI activist R Balwani1 - Article by Arvind Kejriwal1
 –
Article on social media by Ankit Lal3
 –
Cartoons on Corruption2 - Posts on internet freedom and free speech2
 –
Photos of rotting grains in FCI godowns andKonkan Irrigation deptt contract demanding favoursfrom contractors1
 –
Post from IAC Mumbai on Maharashtra Irrigationscam expose2
 –
Posts on Lokpal Bill and proposed bill on privatesector corruption2
 –
 
Posts on Pratibha Patil’s land grab
 2
 –
 
Posts on Farmer’s suicide in Maharashtra
 2
 –
Posts on Aamir Khan on corruption and femalefoeticide1
 –
 
post on Akhil Gogoi’s fast unto death
 1
 –
post on Air India taking journalists on a paid junketLet me also put this on record that
Anna’s schedule was posted on facebook and twitter much before it
appeared on website.
On the day Anna started tour of Maharashtra, I got in touch with Suresh Pathare andasked for the complete schedule, it was promptly sent and shared on social networks. It was shared on FB onMay 2 while uploaded on India Against Corruption website on May 10.
So,
 
who was ignoring Anna’s tour
of Maharashtra, social network or the website managed by Kaushambi office?
 From my experience I can say that other admins on the page, mostly because they are people nominated byyou and highly in awe of you, only post, stories, videos related to you, Manish, Sanjay, Gopal Rai etc. Rarely dothey post anything said or done by other prominent movement leaders like Dr. Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan,Justice Hegde. For instance,
a photo of Manish Sisodia was posted on page in which he was watching cricketmatch with Anna ji
. I fail to understand how this photo was significant for the movement and how did it
further our cause? Manish admitted in yesterday’s meeting that many people have his user id and password.
The import of this admission is really serious - apart from the risk of unwanted stuff being posted on page, italso jeopardises the security of the facebook page? You know, any admin can delete the page forever,permanently undoing the effort that has gone in to build it over a period of a year and a half.
4. There are many complaints against posts on facebook page
Reply: Now, this is a very convenient allegation because it need not be backed by specifics like who made thecomplaint, when, what exactly and why? Moreover these complaints are never forwarded to me for coursecorrection or action. How am I to believe that these so called complaints are not fictional in nature and areonly raised to malign my name and work?
A good way to know if people have genuine concerns on facebookpage would be to ask those same people who follow it
 
 –
about 5.9 lakh fans! I have said this earlier as well,

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