Ready to talk to Mr. Kejriwal, he is not an enemy : Anna Hazare
New Delhi – Anna Hazare, the 76-year-old activist who fronted a campaign against corruption, today said that his former protege, Arvind Kejriwal, “is not an enemy.” For his part, Mr Kejriwal said, “intermediaries” ensure that he is not able to talk directly to the man he thinks of as his guru. “If I had direct communication with Anna, it would not have come to this,” he said.
This week, the fractious relationship between the two men appeared further frayed as Anna discharged searing questions for Mr Kejriwal, who heads Aam Admi Party, which makes its political debut in the Delhi elections on December 4. Anna has refused to back the party, or campaign for it.
He wants Mr Kejriwal to explain whether the funds they raised together in 2011 have been used for his Delhi campaign. Anna has also asked why Mr Kejriwal has hired office-bearers for his party “at a hefty salary of Rs 35,000.”
“When you are working for a social cause, is this right?” Anna asked in his village of Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra.
Anna highlighted his concerns in a letter sent earlier this week to Mr Kejriwal, who said that he will not contest the elections in Delhi if it is proven that he has misused the donations received by Anna and him two years ago.
At the time, Mr Kejriwal was Anna’s main lieutenant as they campaigned across the country for a new law to create a national ombudsman or Lokpal, which would be empowered to investigate charges of graft against elected representatives and bureaucrats.
The apogee of that campaign was a 16-day fast by Anna in Delhi, which mobilized large crowds in the capital and street protests against corruption in other cities.
Political parties promised to introduce the law Anna sought if he ended his fast. Though the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, it did not clear the Rajya Sabha.