'Politicians trying to defame the anti-corruption movement'
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Thursday charged 'political and criminal forces' of trying to dilute the nationwide movement against graft by defaming and criticising the campaign for a comprehensive Lokpal bill.
"Some political and criminal forces are afraid of recent awakening and huge support of the common man to the Jan Lokpal bill. They are trying to create confusion and defame the movement to defuse the emerging people's movement for curbing corruption," Hazare told PTI from Ralegan Siddhi village, 40 kms away from Ahmednagar.
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Image: Anna Hazare during his anti-corruption movement in New Delhi
'Keeping mum is also a support to corrupton'
On criticism for reported remarks against political leaders, the social activist said that he never said that all politicians in India are corrupt.
"There are very few exceptions at all levels. But those exceptions can be honoured only if they too raise their voice against known corruption in their close circles. Keeping mum on issues related to corruption is also silent support to corruption and such leaders who fall in that category are actually of no use for nation," he said.
Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare hold placards during a candlelight campaign against corruption in Ahmedabad
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
'Politicians responsible for maligning the voter's character'
The veteran also faced flak from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party for allegedly calling voters corrupt and dishonest.
To which, the 73-year-old Gandhian said, "Political parties and leaders are responsible for maligning the voter's character in this country. They usually earn lot of black money using power and distribute a little amount of it to voters in elections to grab sympathy for their corrupt practises."
"Is it possible today for candidates who are meritorious and possess good moral character and commitment to win an election without huge amount of black money," he asked.
Image: A supporter of Anna Hazare writes on a canvas during a campaign against corruption in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
'I have always condemned every communal riot'
Under attack for appreciating Gujrat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, Anna said he only lauded their developmental efforts and has always condemned every communal riot including the one in 1984.
Hazare will leave for Delhi on Friday to attend the first meeting of the draft committee for Jan Lokpal bill on April 16.
He expressed his gratitude for the common man as well as all NGOs for their selfless involvement in the movement against corruption.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi