One can't deny that Cong is thick-skinned, says Hazare
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare feels there is no 'ideological confusion' in his anti-Congress posture and the appeal to elect 'good people' from all parties.
The veteran activist is also unapologetic about the prospect of Bharatiya Janata Party benefitting from his anti-Congress stance after his announcement on Tuesday that he would campaign against the Congress in five states going to poll next year if the Jan Lokpal Bill was not passed in Winter Session of Parliament.
"There is absolutely no ideological confusion (in my stance). If this is ideological confusion, then what was that thing between P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee? What sort of confusion was that?" Hazare said during a televised debate on a Marathi news channel.
He was asked about the contradiction between his anti-Congress stance on one hand and his appeal to elect `good people' from all parties on the other.
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Image: File picture of Anna Hazare fasting for a stronger Lokpal Bill at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'Was the cold war between ministers all that ideological?'
"What was on display in the two ministers' `cold war' was all that ideological? Should the country take inspiration from it? Is this (their) ideological level?" Hazare asked.
"The good people in Congress should remove the two-three fish that are spoiling the entire pond. Only then will people get to see their good image," he said.
Asked if he felt his anti-Congress stance would benefit the BJP, Hazare said, "Why do you allow others to benefit? Had you brought the bill on time, others would not benefit. So, there is no point blaming me. Today, Congress is in power. It is in majority. If they decide, they can enact the legislation."
The anti-graft campaigner was skeptical about the commitment of political parties to root out corruption.
Image: File image of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
'Remote control doesn't allow PM to do much'
"We don't believe in parties. Tell me, which party is clean? All are drenched (in corruption). There is no future with these parties. Now the only alternative is that good people from all parties come out and form a new party."
Asked if he felt Congress had become 'nigargat'' (Marathi word for thick-skinned), Hazare said, "One can say that, because if they had the will, they would have enacted the law by now."
"One cannot deny that they (Congress) are `nigargatt'. Had they cared for the society and country, they would not have delayed enacting the law," he said.
Hazare called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a "good person", but said,"The remote control does not allow him to do much. What will the poor man do?"
Image: File picture of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with PM Singh
'Let critics say what they feel. I'm fighting for the country'
Asked if he was indulging in brinkmanship with his repeated ultimatums to the government, Hazare said, "Had I not been doing this, we would not have seen seven different legislations in Maharashtra and also, six (corrupt) state ministers would not have been forced to demit office."
"Let critics say what they feel....let them abuse me, the truth is that people throw stones only at the tree that bears fruit. It is not that I am fond of agitations. But I am fighting for the country," Hazare said.
Asked if he was not dabbling in politics by asking people to vote against Congress, Hazare said,"Let people say what they want. All are aware that corruption has reached grassroots. We are only trying to get the Jan Lokpal bill passed."
"The bill (Lokpal Bill) came up in the Lok Sabha eight times in last 42 years but could not be passed. This only shows that the government does not have the will to create a corruption-free India," he said.
Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare protest at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'Agitation will be at a personal level'
When pointed out that social activist Medha Patkar has said that there was no discussion in Team Anna core committee about holding Tuesday's press conference where he made the anti-Congress appeal, addressed by him and Arvind Kejriwal, Hazare said what Patkar was saying was true.
"The issue of me and Kejriwal holding the press conference was not discussed in the core committee. What I said in the press conference was my personal opinion, not that of the movement. Also, the agitation I will undertake will be at a personal level," he said.
Responding to allegations about his `dictatorial style', Hazare said, "Let people say what they want. The masses know the truth. They know that I am fighting for them, for the country."
Image: Social activist and Team Anna member Medha Patkar at Ramlila Ground
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com