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Anna's battle: Why Shambhu Dutt feels betrayed

By Onkar Singh
August 19, 2011 22:11 IST
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Did Team Anna steal the limelight from 94-year-old Shambhu Dutt and others with their fight against corruption?

The Gandhian had been on a fast until death against corruption at Jantar Mantar much before NGO 'India Against Corruption' took over the role.

On January 30 -- the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated -- Dutt called off his strike in good faith after being approached by the NGO. Today, he is shocked to see Anna Hazare basking in the limelight.

Talking to rediff.com, Shambhu Dutt recalls, "I have taken part in many satyagrahas with Gandhiji and have been to jail several times during the independence struggle. On January 30, 2011, I started my fast until death against growing corruption at all levels in the Indian administration and the society."

"I was sitting on fast at Jantar Mantar when Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Swami Agnivesh came and pleaded with me to give up the fast. They told me that they have an organisation called India Against Corruption and that they are fighting

for the same cause. They promised to highlight my efforts for launching a crusade against corruption. I fell into their trap and called off the fast."

Today, Hazare has stepped into his shoes and grabbed media attention.

"I have nothing againt Anna Hazare, as he is a well-meaning person. But he is ziddi (stubborn) and at times -- to use other people's words -- does not hesitate to blackmail those who do not agree with him," the veteran Gandhian alleged.

According to Dutt, former prime minister I K Gujral wrote a personal letter to him promising to bring in a Lokpal bill when the latter was in power. But before Gujral could act his government fell and promises made to Dutt remained unfulfilled.

Noted jurist Soli Sorabjee and Mahamta Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi promised to help bringing in a Lokpal bill, but soon they too lost interest, he says.

Slamming Hazare's insistence that only his version of the Jan Lokpal bill should be ratified by Parliament, Dutt said: "The government has introduced a bill, which is before the standing committee. To insist on Jan Lokpal bill amounts to putting undue pressure. He cannot dictate to Parliament."

Image: Shambhu Dutt

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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