Not doing vote bank politics, but politics for people: Team Anna
Hitting back at Digvijay Singh, Team Anna on Monday asserted that their movement had nothing to do with any political party even as the Congress leader fired another salvo, saying Anna Hazare was being "led up the garden path" by people opposed to weaker sections.
There was no let up in the war of words with Hazare aide Arvind Kerjiwal rejecting Singh's description of the anti-graft crusader as the "mask of all anti-Congress parties" and that they were pursuing vote bank politics.
"It is not vote bank politics, but politics for the people," Keriwal said while lashing out at those who were trying to create an impression that their movement had the backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
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Image: RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal with Anna Hazare outside the Parliament
'Nothing to do with any political party'
Addressing a public gathering at Arya Nagar in Hisar, he said, "These are wild and baseless allegations and there is no truth in them. Our movement is a people's movement and we want it to remain so. Our main agenda is to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed and continue with our fight against corruption. We have nothing to do with any political party," he said.
Team Anna has asked voters in Hisar ahead of the October 13 Lok Sabha bypolls to vote against the Congress for not bringing the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Targeting Hazare, Singh said he was being misled by people who are against weaker sections and reservation. He contended that Kejriwal has been known for his anti-reservation policy.
"Anna is being led up the garden path by all those people who are basically opposed to the idea of Congress, weaker sections and reservation," he said.
Kejriwal said, "Some people say we are doing politics. We have been saying from the beginning that we are doing politics, but it is not the vote bank politics, but politics for the people."
He said till the time the Bill is not passed in Parliament, their agitation will continue.
Image: Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal
Hazare, a mask of all anti-Congress parties: Digvijay Singh
Singh had on Sunday stated in Agra that Anna Hazare is a mask of all anti-Congress parties.... Anna always says he is not in politics but I have been told, BJP offered him all-party presidential candidate in 2012.
"The BJP leaders are trying to mislead Hazare. It (BJP) has double standards on the issue of Lokpal as it was supporting Hazare's hunger strike in Delhi but was opposed to appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat," Singh said.
At the All India Congress Committee briefing, party spokesman Manish Tewari sought to support Singh's claim made on Sunday that the BJP has led Hazare to believe it will support him to become President of the country.
"I do not want to comment on what he has said.... In retrospect, his (statements) on various things have been uncannily right," Tewari remarked.
Image: Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh
'Anti-Congressism appears to be Team Anna's reference point'
The Congress spokesman also doubted the motives of Team Anna saying, "Not fight against corruption, but anti-Congressism appears to be the reference point".
"So far as call to vote against the Congress in Hisar is concerned, I am not able to understand that have they determined that the opposition parties contesting the polls are bathed in milk and smelling of honey and roses," he asked. He said that it was also important to keep in mind whether the fight was really about corruption or was part of the "traditional battle over the basic idea of India by playing on other issues".
The statement of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat that his organisation had actively backed the Hazare campaign "gives weight to this thinking," he said. Besides, he said that the motives of Team Anna appeared suspect given the fact that the Parliamentary Standing Committee going into the Lokpal issue was meeting on a weekly basis and has not reached a determination yet.
Tewari, who had earlier landed in controversy over remarks on Hazare, made it clear that "personally, I don't think anyone has any animus against him and has profoundest respect" for the activist.
He said any criticism of Hazare should be seen in the light of legitimate perception of differences over various issues.