The social activist is not unblemished, says Gurudas Kamat

Congress leaders and representatives of Muslim bodies, which had backed the Jan Lok Pal movement, have condemned Anna Hazare's anti-Congress stance in the Hisar byelection.

“Anna Hazare has shown his true face,” said Congress MP and former Union Minister Gurudas Kamat at a Mahila Congress function here. “Mr. Hazare's stand is a matter of concern for the Congress. We have to take note of the fact that Mr. Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and his team will only oppose the Congress.”

Mr. Kamat said the activist had always denied links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, but the saffron outfit had said they were fully supporting Mr. Hazare and his movement. “Mr. Hazare must issue a clarification on this,” the MP said.

“There were around 35,000 people at the Ramlila Maidan [the protest venue in Delhi]. Where did the money to provide three meals to so many people come from,” Mr. Kamat asked.

In a veiled reference to the Justice P.B. Sawant Commission report of 2005 that held Mr. Hazare guilty of corrupt practice, the Congress MP said the social activist was not unblemished. “If you are tainted in however small a way, there is no need for you to preach to the country. Mahatma Gandhi never pointed a finger at anybody.”

Mr. Kamat also attacked the anti-corruption movement for staging protests at the houses of MPs. “Do they think we could not have countered them? Are they going to lock us in our homes? We are not wearing bangles,” he said.

Union Minister of Culture, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja said “some activists” wore the garb of social activism, but had the “hidden agenda” of entering politics.

“Some people call themselves activists. Social activism is very different from political activism. Voters can see that difference. They will expose those [with a hidden agenda]. The Congress is ready to face political challenges,” she said.

The All India Ulema Board and the Jamiat ul-Ulama, Mumbai, also took exception to Mr. Hazare targeting the Congress.

“Mr. Hazare's stand is unfortunate. If the anti-corruption movement turns against one party, then the other parties will draw benefit. It will weaken the movement,” the Board's general secretary, Allama Bunai Hasani, told a press conference here.

Maulana Abdul Salam Khan Qasim, president of the Jamiat ul-Ulama termed it (the anti-Congress stand) “petty thinking.”

The organisations have written to Mr. Hazare appealing to him to ask people to vote for clean candidates instead. Their letter expresses the fear that the Bharatiya Janata Party will stand to gain from the anti-Congress campaign.

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