New Delhi: Targeting Kiran Bedi, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas on Friday accused her of trying to influence Team Anna during the Lokpal movement against attacking BJP, triggering strong criticism from Congress which accused AAP of having "close links" with the ruling party at the Centre.
Viswas claimed Bedi attempted to influence AAP leaders including Kejriwal so as to ensure that alleged graft by BJP governments in the states ruled by it was not highlighted.
"During the anti-graft movement, there were few people who were of the view that BJP should not be attacked. Even after the Lokpal agitation was over, you have seen Kiran Bedi often saying that in politics lesser evil is chosen.
"Even when AAP was not even formed, Kejriwal in his first interview in 2012 had said that we talked to Bediji and she did not want any kind of attack on BJP.
"After the coal scam came to light, we held protests outside residences of then PM Manmohan Singh, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhiji and had protested outside Nitin Gadkari's house also. Bedi who was scheduled to join in protest outside Gadkari's residence did not turn up," Biswas told reporters here.
Congress leader Manish Tewari attacked both Kejriwal and Bedi and said both they were selectively targetting Congress during anti-graft movement.
"They were cherry picking and they were not prepared to talk about the alleged mining scam in Karnataka during BJP's rule. How can even AAP claim to be an anti-BJP force when there were rumours that India Against Corruption was a B-team of BJP," he said.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said AAP was now "trying to make politically motivated allegations. Arvind Kejriwal needs to answer why he lobbied so hard with Digvijaya Singh to get a place in Sonia Gandhi's national advisory Council."
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said that things were now getting clear that "Kejriwal, Bedi and Gen V K Singh were pursuading Anna Hazare to be soft on BJP and to speak only against the Congress."
The criticism by Vishwas against Bedi came a day after AAP-founder Shanti Bhushan demanded Kejriwal's removal as party chief after the Delhi elections while heaping praise on Bedi.
"Arvind Kejriwal must explain why AAP leaders had refrained from attacking BJP and only targeted Congress. It proves that the AAP leaders had links with BJP even during the Lokpal movement," Maken contended.
When asked whether she tried to influence Team Anna against attacking BJP, Bedi chose not to reply.
On Shanti Bhushan's praise for her, Bedi said she has thanked him for the compliment through an SMS and if possible, would meet him. "My office has sent him a message requesting him to give me time for a personal meeting. I want to meet him. Whenever he calls me I will go to meet him."
Earlier Bhushan said there was no point in meeting Bedi as "We belong to two different parties" and added that she should focus on her campaigning.
Bhushan yesterday had created a flutter by praising Bedi and calling BJP's move to field her as the party's Chief Ministerial candidate a "masterstroke".