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Anna asks AAP leader to quit village

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Differences between Team Anna and Aam Aadmi Party burst out in the open today with Anna Hazare asking an AAP leader
anna hazareRalegan Siddhi: Differences between Team Anna and Aam Aadmi Party burst out in the open today with Anna Hazare asking an AAP leader to keep away from his fasting site after he indulged in a spat former Army Chief Gen V K Singh.

The public snub by Hazare, who has been on an indefinite fast pressing for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill, came when Gopal Rai, interrupted Singh’s speech.

Reacting to the snub, the AAP called back Rai from the fast site and he left the Ralegan Siddhi promptly. He said he was complying with the orders of Hazare, who was like a father figure to him, and he would continue his fast in his home in Delhi.

It all began with the former Army Chief making an apparent attack on Arvind Kejriwal and AAP. “We should not split and form different groups in our fight against corruption for personal gains,” he said.

Anna Hazare and the leaders of AAP including Kejriwal were together in the anti-corruption movement and campaign for a Jan Lokpal Bill for more than a year till AAP was formed a year ago.

Rai, deputed by AAP to be at the fast site till end of the protest, interjected to question Singh and told him discuss Jan Lokpal. He asked Singh why he was raising other matters.

Then Hazare, on the fourth day of his fast, bluntly told Rai not to interrupt Gen Singh.

Singh told Rai that the fight against corruption is in national interest and they have to fight together and not by forming different groups and parties.

“You can speak later. If what I say is not palatable to someone….you are under a misconception and keep that within
you. The wrong things that you have done. Do not force me to speak further,” he said.

Hazare told Rai sternly “Even yesterday I told you not to fast. Why are you speaking in between. We have not asked you to fast. If you want to create a ruckus, you can keep out of this village. It is not right to interrupt when someone is speaking.”

The 76-year-old anti-graft crusader is on a fast near the Yadav Baba temple at Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, under the banner of ‘Jantantra Morcha’.

He said he will not break his fast till the Jan Lokpal Bill is passed in Parliament.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia said in Delhi that Rai has been called back but pleaded with Hazare not to fall a prey to designs of “some agents” of Congress and BJP to convince him that the Lokpal Bill before Rajya Sabha was good and support it.

Sisodia said that the Lokpal Bill which government was trying to get passed “is nothing but a jokepal” as all those politicians who have corruption charges would be appointing the Lokpal.

He said the current Bill also kept the lower-level government employees and the state government employees out of its purview. Also there is no mention of Citizen Charter in it and does not have the required teeth to fight graft.

“In all, the Bill is an eyewash and does not have any of teeth,” he said.

Later talking to reporters, Gen Singh said he took exception to the “uncivilised conduct” of Rai when he intervened during his speech.

“I cannot say more than this. It is below my dignity to react to him. It was Anna’s platform,” he said in reply to questions.

Continuing his veiled attack on AAP, he said they took advantage of Anna’s movement and tried to “belittle” Hazare thinking he would come behind them in three or four months. “What is the politics in this,” he said.

When asked about the attack on AAP, he said he had made no direct or indirect attack on anybody but had only spoken the truth. “It is for others to interpret because I speak out my mind. I do not speak at the instance of others.”

When asked about his political ambitions in the background of his sharing stage with Narendra Modi in a public meeting in Haryana, he said “I do not know whether I have any political ambitions. Let there be no misconception.

“I went to an ex-servicemen’s rally in which Modi was there. I will go anywhere in the interest of ex-servicemen because I am an army man first,” he said.


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