“I had clearly told Arvind that if you want to launch a political party, do so. I may support one or two candidates that your party fields, if I feel they have been chosen by the people and are good enough to go to Parliament, but do not expect that you will field a thousand candidates and I will support all of them. I know that people who fight elections have sent their people here. If you try to create a scene here, I will not come for tomorrow’s meeting. We were together till yesterday, let us not create a India-Pakistan now,” Hazare said towards the end of his speech.
The address was a reiteration of Hazare’s arguments against launching a political party, whose first announcement he himself had made at the Jantar Mantar 45 days ago.
Hazare barely concealed disdain for his former colleagues, referring to them as “people who fight elections”; there was terse warning and and implied accusation on his part that Kejriwal’s team was putting pressure on him. All this gave away to the fact that Kejriwal and Co’s brave faces notwithstanding, they may have run their course as Hazare’s aides. “Some time ago two buses of about 100 IAC volunteers came to me demanding that I support the party. I told them I do not want to. Why are you forcing me, dragging me into dirt?” Hazare said.
He dwelt at length on the difficulty of “quality control” when it comes to electoral candidates.
Hazare’s direction to those who do not want a political party to refrain from attending Kejriwal’s meeting on Wednesday was yet another pointer to the acrimony that has developed between the two IAC halves.
Earlier in the day in Pune, Hazare admitted that there were differences between him and Kejriwal. “There is a rift, but our goals remain the same,” he said. Simultaneously, he reiterated his stance of steering clear of politics. “I will never enter politics,” he said.
Meanwhile, addressing the media in Surat, Kiran Bedi said on Tuesday: “The decision to form a party was of Arvind Kejriwal...I am not going to join any political party...Anna’s team has been divided into two...Kiran Bedi will always remain with agitation and not with party.”
WITH ENS PATNA & SURAT