Lokpal Bill: Anna Hazare calls for unity

Last Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 00:39

Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Social activist Anna
Hazare on Wednesday cautioned people against those trying to create
"schisms" and "discord" in the movement against corruption and
appealed for their unity in the wake of the controversy over
his endorsing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and some
allegations.

Warning against attempts to break up the civil society`s
campaign against graft, the 73-year-old anti-corruption
crusader also said he is pained that he has to explain himself
time and again on Modi, a BJP leader, whom he had praised for
developmental efforts in Gujarat.

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
the people who see an effective Lokpal as a "grave threat" to
their interests.

Hazare`s comments came against the backdrop of the
controversy over his praising Modi for his work in Gujarat
refusing to die down and charges in the initial days of his
indefinite fast -- which he called off after 87 hours -- that his
movement was politically affiliated.

"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.

Noting that a handful of people want to break up our
collective power and try to create discord, he said, one way
was to try to break up the collective power was to spread
disinformation and rake up issues that will distract attention
from the fight against corruption towards extraneous matters.

"It is important that we are able to see through their
designs. We need to not only frustrate their plans but also
keep our collective enthusiasm at a level that must keep
rising," he said.

He said the victory so far bears out that they have
chosen the right and noble way forward for the country, but
the destination is way ahead.

Hazare in a letter to danseuse and activist Mallika
Sarabhai yesterday said, "I am pained that I have to explain
myself on Mr Modi. I was asked about Gujarat and Bihar Chief
Ministers` development work in the press conference held in
Delhi, and based on media reports I said Bihar and Gujarat
have done good work in rural development."

"At the same time I had condemned 2002 riots and
communalism," he said.

The Gandhian, who wrote from his native village Ralegan
Siddhi in Maharashtra`s Ahmednagar district, was reacting to
Sarabhai`s e-mail expressing her shock at the former endorsing
Modi.

Hazare also made it clear that he was "totally
apolitical and strongly against communalism."

"I have focused on rooting out corruption in life. This
is a long struggle and I trust people like you (Sarabhai) who
have fought for people`s right will understand the spirit of
the movement," Hazare said in the letter.

Activists of Vadodara have strongly reacted to
the statement issued by Hazare clarifying his remarks on Modi
after breaking his fast over the issue of Lokpal Bill.

"Your vague clarification is only related to communal
harmony and politics. We point out to you that your praise of
Modi`s development order is misplaced," Vadodara-based Rohit
Prajapati and Trupti Shah said.

SUCI leader and coordinator of NGO Lok Andolan Gujarat
D K Rath, in a letter written today to activist Swami
Agnivesh, who has been actively supporting Hazare in his
movement against corruption, said, "Annaji, recent utterances
concerning Gujarat and other issues are sending mixed signals
and creating apprehensions in our minds".

"Hopefully you (Agnivesh) along with (Arvind) Kejrival,
Kiran Bedi and others will see to it that the movement does
not falter (because of Hazare`s comments on Modi)."

Swami Agnivesh came to the defence of Hazare, saying to
read something more into his statement (on Modi) was "not
warranted".

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 00:39

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