Social activist Aruna Roy has taken exception to Arvind Kejriwal’s statement reported in the press on Sunday that she was not ready to engage in a dialogue on the Lokpal Bill, among other things. In a joint statement with Nikhil Dey, Ms. Roy said “We have never alleged that team Anna has not discussed the issue with me/us, (or more appropriately the National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI). In fact, the NCPRI has never refused to engage in dialogue. Mr. Kejriwal himself states that the issue has been discussed in “three meetings”, so the allegation that we have refused to engage in dialogue is wrong on the face of it.”
Mr. Kejriwal on Saturday had said in Ralegan Siddhi that Ms. Roy had wrongly alleged that Team Anna had not discussed the issue with her, in spite of having had three meetings with the members. “When we were supposed to meet her in [veteran journalist] Kuldip Nayar's house, she sent us back from the gate saying that she didn't want to talk to me. We tried, but she is not ready to engage in dialogue,” Mr. Kejriwal told the media.
Ms. Roy said she would like to set the record straight about the highly objectionable personal aspersions allegedly cast on her that “When we were supposed to meet her in [veteran journalist] Kuldip Nayar's house, she sent us back from the gate saying that she didn’t want to talk to me.” Ms. Roy said, “I have not sent, and could not have sent, nor would send anyone back from the gate of anyone's house. We never met/saw/ or talked to Mr. Kejriwal that day to be able to send him away from the gate. Nor did we ask for anyone to be sent away.”
She said that they were called by Mr. Kuldip Nayar for a personal meeting, where he had said he was going to call Justice Rajinder Sachar, Ms. Medha Patkar, and possibly Mr. Prashant Bhushan. “When a member of the National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM) came and informed us that several others from the India Against Corruption (IAC) were also coming, we made it clear to Mr. Kuldip Nayar that neither Nikhil Dey, nor I were mandated by the NCPRI to hold discussions on the law or the demands of the campaign. Mr. Kuldip Nayar said he had, in fact called Medha Patkar, and Prashant Bhushan along with the two of us, as friends, and understood that there could be no formal dialogue or discussions.”
Ms. Roy clarified that she and Nikhil Dey met all those who came to Mr. Nayar’s house that morning. “We had tea in a convivial atmosphere. We reiterated to everyone that we were not mandated to hold discussions on the Lokpal issue, and had come to Mr. Nayar’s house as friends, and not as members of the NCPRI. For discussions between the IAC and NCPRI on the Lokpal issue, we requested Mr. Prashant Bhushan to call Mr. Shekhar Singh of the NCPRI to fix a meeting. This meeting was fixed and held. At no point has the NCPRI said it will not meet Mr. Kejriwal.”
Adding that this was their personal statement, Ms Roy said that the other assertions allegedly made by Mr. Kejriwal that “Ms. Roy had not suggested an alternative Bill or law,” but merely “a proposal, a concept note,” and that many of the NCPRI proposals were “Unconstitutional” will be discussed in the public domain by the NCPRI.