No pre-poll alliance with Congress or BJP, says Mamata

In a clear shift from his earlier stand of not entering or supporting electoral politics, social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday announced that he would help Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) put up 100 candidates to fight the Lok Sabha election in different parts of the country. Outside West Bengal, “his candidates” would be fielded as independents backed by the TMC or as TMC candidates.

Snubs Kejriwal

Mr. Hazare said he wrote four months ago to Chief Ministers and political parties on his 17 points on anti-corruption, decentralisation, land reforms etc. and only Ms. Banerjee replied. “Arvind [Kejriwal] did not reply. [Therefore] there is no question of my support to him.”

Asked if he would support or oppose the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who had recently praised Ms. Banerjee, he said he would do neither.

Mr. Hazare said not only would he find the “right candidates” for the TMC but also actively campaign for the party.

He has already announced his backing for Ms. Banerjee as a prime ministerial candidate, much to the chagrin of women’s groups.

He said he had decided to do this “only for this election as the country is looking for a change.”

In Ms. Banerjee, he found someone who was leading a simple life and had sacrificed much for the country.