Rattled by dissension in his own ranks for his praise for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, noted Gandhian and a member of the joint Lokpal drafting committee Anna Hazare on Wednesday issued a statement cautioning that there are elements, which want to create “schisms” and “discord” in the movement against corruption and appealed for unity.
Noting that he was pained to explain time and again that his remarks on Mr Modi was limited only to his development efforts in rural Gujarat, the 73-year-old anti-corruption crusader warned that there were attempts to break up the civil society’s campaign against graft.
The statement, which came as an open letter to “fellow citizens”, Mr hazare said, “People involved in the campaign against corruption cannot afford to dissipate their energies on arguing over non-issues and quarrelling with misinformation campaigns undertaken by the people who see an effective Lokpal as a grave threat to their interests.”
Mr Hazare in a letter to danseuse and activist Mallika Sarabhai on Tuesday said, “I am pained that I have to explain myself on Mr Modi. I was asked about Gujarat and Bihar chief ministers’ development work in the press conference held in Delhi, and based on media reports I said Bihar and Gujarat have done good work in rural development. At the same time I had condemned 2002 riots and communalism.”
The Gandhian, who wrote from his native village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, was reacting to Ms Sarabhai’s email expressing her shock at the former endorsing Mr Modi.
Meanwhile, ahead of the first meeting on April 16 of the joint drafting committee to prepare a stronger Lokpal bill, the government urged the members from the civil society to come with open mind and refrain from drawing lines beyond which they would not retreat.
“What is happening with this committee is that even before the it meets, everybody is giving their point of view and suggestions and drawing lines beyond which they will not retreat. I think it is not good for a negotiating atmosphere,” water resources minister Slaman Khursheed, who is also a member of the panel, said.
Mr Khursheed was apparently indicating at the tough stance adopted by the five members of the civil society who are part of the Committee. “We must go with an open mind. Everybody knows the context and constrains. Let’s see how much of these constrains we can overcome and how much of the context we can understand together,” he added. Asian Age