Without naming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), former army chief Gen VK Singh on Friday accused the party of using Anna Hazare’s movement for political benefits and then deserting the anti-corruption crusader.
He said this while addressing the villagers after meeting Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi. Singh said that the Lokpal Bill has seen Parliament eight times without passage and now this would be the ninth time.
Singh accused the AAP of cashing in on Anna’s agitation for political purpose and conveniently estranging him. Singh had to wind up his address after AAP leader Gopal Rai interrupted him when he apparently started criticising AAP and Kejriwal. Consequently, a verbal spat broke out between the two.
After the argument, Anna intervened and asked Rai to leave the village.
Later, speaking to media persons, Gen Singh said, “It is below my dignity to comment on that man.”
Singh said some people, after deserting Anna, felt that Anna would come to them begging for their company, but Anna is a self-made man and does not need anyone. He said Anna is fasting for the larger public interest and these people are sill trying to malign his image. Gen Singh said they came here and joined Anna’s fast though Anna had not allowed it. He said, “If they don’t listen to Anna and carry on their fast at Anna’s pandal, what can we comment? Moreover interrupting someone’s speech is nothing but uncivilised behavior and I cannot comment upon such people.
They are raising the issue of ex-servicemen’s rally called by Narendra Modi. Yes, I went there and I would attend any rally for the welfare of ex-servicemen without bothering about the organiser of the same. People know me and such allegations will not stick to me.”
After being asked to leave Ralegan Siddhi, Gopal Rai alleged that some people were trying to put pressure on the veteran leader to give his nod for a weaker Lokpal Bill. Rai said that if a weaker bill is passed then the AAP would launch a separate agitation for a stronger bill.
“The draft of the Lokpal bill that the government is trying to table in parliament is weaker compared to the draft of Jan Lokpal bill that we had given. Some people are now trying to pressure Anna to give his approval for a weaker bill,” he said at a press conference in Pune in the evening.
According to Rai, people would realise how weak is the Lokpal bill once it is open to public and AAP will agitate for a stronger bill. On Anna asking him to leave Ralegan Siddhi, Rai said, “Even if I have been asked to leave the village, I will continue my fast for the bill.”
Looking back at split in the team
Sept 16, 2012: Giving credence to the speculation of a rift within the Team Anna, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare changes his blog address from India Against Corruption (IAC) to his native place Ralegaon Siddhi
Sept 18, 2012: Anna says floating a political outfit by Kejriwal would mean “taking a different path” to reach the same goal of corruption free India.
Oct 2, 2012: Arvind Kejriwal enters politics by announcing creation of his political party on the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri Nov 24, 2012: Kejriwal announces a name for the andolan-turned-party — the Aam Admi Party.
Nov 18, 2013: Anna writes to Kejriwal asking him to specify if the money collected for the movement for lokpal is being used to fund his election campaign.
Nov 18, 2013: Kejriwal denies that funds raised during the anti-corruption campaign fronted by Anna Hazare had been spent on his party’s campaign. If he is found guilty, he says, he will not contest the election.
Nov 19, 2013: Anna asks Kejriwal not to use his name in any way for AAP campaigning for the Delhi elections. He also expresses disappointment for the use of his name and Jan Lokpal for AAP’s election campaigning.
Compiled by DNA-Research N Archives