New York/New Delhi: Anna Hazare felt that
some of his team members had "ego problems" and he was not
getting the "right feedback" on the negotiations during his
August agitation for a strong Lokpal, a US newspaper has said.
However, Hazare in a statement, claimed he was misquoted
by `The New York Times` and there was no question of removing
Arvind Kejriwal or Prashant Bhushan from the core committee
leading the agitation.
In an interview to the paper, Hazare was asked: "Among
your allies are Prashant Bhushan, who criticises economic
liberalisation, and Arvind Kejriwal, who has been criticised
for saying overly harsh things about the prime minister. Do
you agree with them, and is there disunity among your senior
To this, Hazare was quoted as saying, "I will try to
change them. There were some ego problems. From the government
side it was Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal. From our side also
there were some issues. I was not getting the right feedback,
nor was the prime minister. That complicated the issues.
"Later, Vilasrao Deshmukh and another minister got
involved and direct contact with the prime minister was
established. I have an old relationship with Vilasrao. Then
the issues were resolved. They (Bhushan and Kejriwal) are good
people. I need to change them. I will change them."
In a statement issued tonight, Hazare said the
journalists had asked him whether he agreed with the views of
Kejriwal and Bhushan and whether there was any differences
among his supporters.
"In reply to the question, I answered that there are no
differences. I said that if there are any shortcomings, I will
try to find it out and if something comes to the fore, I will
try to resolve it. But these journalists have taken the wrong
meaning of what I said and wrote that I will remove Kejriwal
and Bhushan. This is a lie," he said.
Hazare said he was also opposed to the present economic
policies like Bhushan. He also challenged the journalists to
present the audio tape where he has said that he will change
Bhushan and Kejriwal.
Claiming that there were efforts to divide the civil
society, Hazare said there is no question of removing Kejriwal
In the interview, he said people of character and
principle should sit in these positions. "Parliament is the
holy temple of democracy. Holy people should go there," he
said when pointed out that he was accused of having contempt
When asked whether he wanted to be prime minister and get
into politics, he said it was "muck for me. I will neither
contest elections nor make a party nor go into politics. But
in four or five years, if I get good people, I will ask them
to fight elections."
On people comparing him with Mahatma Gandhi, he said it
was not fair as he was not able to even sit at Gandhi`s feet.
When asked whether his fasts were "political blackmail",
he said, "What do you mean, blackmail? Am I asking for
money?... Because all the people cannot go to Parliament, we
have elected politicians to make good laws and to take care of
the treasury. If they are not making good laws and not keeping
the treasury clean, if I protest against that, it is not