Lokpal Bill: Anna Hazare calls for unity
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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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