BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: After being attacked from different quarters of the society for his praise for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Veteran activist Anna Hazare today once again explained that he only appreciated their developmental works and that had always condemned every communal riot, including the 1984 anti-Sikh riot. He charged “political and criminal forces” of trying to dilute the nationwide movement against graft by defaming and criticising the campaign for a comprehensive Lokpal Bill.
He cautioned people against those trying to create “schisms” and “discord” in the anti-corruption movement and appealed that they stay united.
He said: “Some political and criminal forces are afraid of recent awakening and huge support of the common man to the Jan Lokpal Bill. They are trying to create confusion and defame the movement to defuse the emerging people’s movement for curbing corruption.”
On criticism for reported remarks against political leaders, the social activist said that he never said that all politicians in India are corrupt.
“There are very few exceptions at all levels. But those exceptions can be honoured only if they too raise their voice against known corruption in their close circles. Keeping mum on issues related to corruption is also silent support to corruption and such leaders who fall in that category are actually of no use for nation,” he said.
The veteran also faced flak from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party for allegedly calling voters corrupt and dishonest.
The 73-year-old Gandhian said: “Political parties and leaders are responsible for maligning the voter’s character in this country. They usually earn lot of black money using power and distribute a little amount of it to voters in elections to grab sympathy for their corrupt practises.”
“Is it possible today for candidates who are meritorious and possess good moral character and commitment to win an election without huge amount of black money,” he asked.
Hazare will leave for Delhi tomorrow to attend the first meeting of the draft committee for Jan Lokpal Bill on April 16. He expressed his gratitude for the common man as well as all NGOs for their selfless involvement in the movement against corruption.
Warning against attempts to break up the civil society’s campaign against graft in the wake of the controversy over his endorsing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and some allegations, the 73-year-old also said he is pained that he has to explain himself time and again on the BJP leader.
Hazare had praised Modi for his developmental efforts in Gujarat but came under criticism by several activists in the state involved in the campaign against corruption. The activists included Mallika Sarabhai who said she was shocked at Hazare’s endorsement.
Social activist Medha Patkar also said Hazare’s public praise of Modi is unacceptable and it compromises the battle against corruption. Swami Agnivesh, however, came to Hazare’s defence, saying the controversy over his praise of Modi was “needless.”
In an open letter to “fellow citizens”, Hazare said people involved in the campaign against corruption cannot afford to dissipate their energies on “arguing over non-issues and quarreling with disinformation campaigns” undertaken by people who see an effective Lokpal as a “grave threat” to their interests.
“Our victory so far over corruption, falsehood, injustice, and oppression is indisputable and unprecedented. But it is also clearly evident that there is handful of people who are already active trying to create schisms in this great coming together of all sections of our society to fight for a corruption-free future,” he said.