Reflecting a rift within Team Anna Hazare, Justice Santosh Hegde has disapproved of the anti-Congress campaign by activist Arvind Kejriwal during the Hisar bypolls, saying it was not the right thing to do and "we jumped the gun".
Hegde, who was a representative of Team Anna in the Joint Drafting Committee on Lokpal Bill, also took a dig at Kejriwal for his remarks that Hazare was above Parliament, observing that such things happen when somebody talks "too much".
Describing himself as an apolitical person, the former Karnataka Lokayukta said, "I believe the (Hazare) movement is and should be apolitical. Even before Parliament could debate the Lokpal Bill, they went to Hisar and campaigned against the Congress. I don't think it was the right thing to do."
He noted that corrupt people "are not just in the Congress" but in other parties as well. "If Anna and the other team members felt compelled to intervene in the electoral process, they should have only asked the people to choose the best candidate. That would have been the ideal thing to do," Hegde told Outlook when asked whether he was uncomfortable with the Hisar episode.
Emphasising that he was not pro-Congress, he said he did not know much about the Congress candidate in Hisar but claimed that Kuldeep Bishnoi (of Haryana Janhit Congress) and Ajay Chautala of the Indian National Lok Dal were not above board. "How then we ask people to vote against the Congress?"
Queried whether he was consulted before the Hisar campaign, Justice Hegde said there was no specific consultation and after he raised his opposition, Kejriwal called him to clarify that the plan to oppose candidates had been shared and discussed.
"But to my knowledge, that was to be done only if Parliament and parties had reneged on their promise to pass the Lokpal Bill. I had to tell Kejriwal that, as far as Hisar was concerned, we had jumped the gun. Now, what happens if the Congress passes the bill during the winter session?
"By the way, it is not just about the Congress, it is the United Progressive Alliance. However eager one may be to bring about change, we should allow the system to work. We should be patient," he said.
Asked about 'Anna-above-Parliament' remark by Kejriwal, Hegde said it was "unwarranted" and "this is what happens when you talk too much."
He recalled that when politicians said that Parliament is supreme, "I opposed it. That is because the Supreme Court can strike down any unconstitutional move by Parliament".
Referring to top industrialists writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Lokpal issue, Hazare said, it was a "good and constructive" way of keeping up the pressure and "so much different from opposing candidates" in an election.