Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare yesterday praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Hazare was later forced to clarify that he was against communalism but the Congress party is now seeing red.
In just five days, Anna Hazare proved what it takes in rallying the whole country behind him.
Anna Hazare, who initiated the voice of the civic society for a corruption-free India, stirred up a controversy when he made a seemingly pro-Narendra Modi while addressing the media.
“State chief ministers must learn from the work done by the chief ministers of Gujarat and Bihar,” he said.
Anxious to protect his secular image, Anna was quick to clarify that he is opposed to communalism.
“On a question asked in my press conference, I praised only the developmental work done by Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar in rural areas. Alongside, I clarified that I am equally opposed to any form of communal disharmony.
“I don’t support riots,” he clarified. “I am completely opposed to any kind of communalism or discrimination on religious or caste lines. I strongly condemn and oppose any kind of communal violence.”
“The movement is completely nonpartisan and will remain so. I sincerely urge the press to understand my intentions, which is to save this country from corruption by taking people of all faiths and religions along.”
“I am not in support of any party, but the work they (Modi and Nitish Kumar) have done at the grassroots level is needed. The rural development they have done should be imitated,” he said.
When a reporter referred to the 2002 riots in Gujarat when Modi was in power, Hazare said he was only talking about the work of a chief minister and does not want to get into politics.
Congress party leader Rashid Alvi sharply reacted to Hazare’s comments saying “no secular person in the country can support Modi.”
“If you support Modi, you are supporting the massacre of 2002,” he said.
Already smarting under Hazare’s crusade, a cornered Congress party and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) lost no time to hit back.
Sharad Pawar-led NCP is upset with the way Congress party handled the whole issue and is not taking it lying down after Pawar was forced to resign from the Group of Ministers on corruption within hours of being targeted by Hazare as the most ‘corrupt’ in the government.