NEW DELHI: Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has said he would ensure another political leader like Arvind Kejriwal does not rise out of his movement. This is the latest in a string of comments expressing displeasure with his one-time protégé, who broke with him to form the Aam Aadmi Party.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Hazare said he would ask for an undertaking from anyone who wants to join his movement that they would not enter active politics. He was asked a question on this in light of his announcement of a 'peaceful protest' from March 23 demanding steps to improve the condition of farmers across the country.
"No, it will never happen again… I will make sure that it will never happen again," Hazare pronounced. "I was not very alert then. But now, before joining me, a person has to give affidavit saying they won't join any political party or fight elections," he said.
Kejriwal had risen to public attention as a key face of the India Against Corruption movement led by Hazare in 2011. The movement had spread across the country demanding that a Jan Lokpal Bill be passed. The demand had come in the context of a number of graft allegations that emerged during the UPA-2 government.
Hazare had been against the decision of some members of his movement to break away and launch a political outfit. His comments expressing disappointment have been a repeated source of negative publicity and focus for Kejriwal and the AAP.
He has earlier expressed anguish over the corruption allegations against members of the Delhi Chief Minister's cabinet and his party. "He was my colleague in the fight against corruption... At that time, I felt the educated new generation could help rid the country of graft. But it was a big dream. And my dream lies shattered," Hazare had said last year.
Kejriwal however is not the only India Against Corruption alumnus to enter active politics. Former top cop Kiran Bedi too entered active politics as part of the BJP. Other faces such as senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, psephologist Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas and Kapil Mishra were all part of the AAP, and have since fallen out with Kejriwal over his autocratic style of functioning and graft allegations.
(With inputs from ANI)