Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Advani's Rath yatra for votes, not country: Anna Hazare

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday hit out at the ruling Congress for spreading lies about him. Talking exclusively to Headlines Today, the Gandhian said Manmohan Singh was a puppet prime minister and that Home Minister P. Chidambaram had masterminded his arrest ahead of his indefinite hunger strike last month. (WATCH: Anna Hazare's exclusive interview)

In his first interview after the historic fast at Ramlila Maidan last month, Hazare told Headlines Today that Manmohan Singh was a remote controlled Prime Minister.

Blaming Chidambaram for his arrest, Hazare said the government had planned to pack him off to his village in a helicopter. The government was however beaten by its own action after Hazare refused to leave Tihar Central Jail after his release order and camped in the prison's office for three days until he was granted permission to hold protests at Ramlila Maidan.

"I was arrested at 4.30 pm on the grounds that I might disrupt peace in the city. My release order came by 6.30 pm. When I asked the Delhi Police commissioner, who had ordered my release, he kept quiet. That meant he had been ordered by the government to arrest me," he said.

Slamming Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who has time and again targeted Hazare and his associates, Hazare reiterated that he should be sent to a mental hospital. "Why did the Congress not raise voice for 10 years, when I worked with Digvijay," he questioned.

Hazare also took on veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani calling his proposed Rath Yatra a political gimmick.

"I don't think it (Rath Yatra) is for the good of the country and its people. It is aimed at votes. If it is not so, bring about Lokpal law. Then I will support him," Hazare said on being asked about supporting Advani's Rath Yatra.

On his proposed rail tour of the country, Hazare said, "Our yatra is not for votes. It is for people's awareness."

Hazare denied any relationship with the RSS or its allies, including the BJP and the VHP. He said whoever is making such accusation should come face-to-face and seek his explanation rather than talking behind his back.

He also ruled out any political alignment. "I am not connected to any party, nor will I ever be a part of any political party," he said.

On his silence over the ongoing controversy over the appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat Hazare said, "Why only one Lokayukta, we want it in all the states. If the BJP is really concerned about corruption, why is its government not appointing Lokayuktas in the states ruled by it?"

Asked what would be his reaction if his key aides Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi preferred to contest election, Hazare said, "In this democratic system they are free to fight election. I would rather suggest them to stay outside (of politics) and form a pressure group."

He also rebutted allegations that he was influenced by Kejriwal or Bedi. "If Arvind Kejriwal or Kiran Bedi had confined me, then how did I fast in Maharashtra to get seven bills passed? The Congress is trying to misguide and confuse people," he claimed.

Asked if he would forgive activist Swami Agnivesh, who was allegedly found to be acting as a government agent on Team Anna's platform during the Lokpal movement at Ramlila Maidan, Hazare said, "I had received complaint against him. I told him twice... still he did that... (allegedly spoke to Kapil, believed to be Union Minister Kapil Sibal). I had told him not to speak to the government until we say so... Still, if there is any difference in him then we may think of it."

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