The remarks of the former Karnataka Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy, on Sunday that Mahatma Gandhi would have turned corrupt in present-day politics drew sharp reaction from leaders including Gandhian Anna Hazare, who wondered how the country could eliminate corruption if leaders talked like this.

“If our leaders are talking like this, how are you going to root out corruption,” asked the 73-year-old Gandhian on Monday.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee described the comments by the JD(S) leader as “meaningless utterances.”

“No, I will not comment. It is a meaningless utterance and I will not give [my] reaction to it,” Mr. Mukherjee said in Kolkata.

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “What else can you expect from Mr. Kumaraswamy? Nothing better.”

He said the whole movement against corruption in the country arose because of the “patent disgust” of the people with the spate of scams from 2G to Commonwealth Games to Adarsh Housing Society. — PTI

Antithesis to Hazare

Bangalore Special Correspondent reports:

Mr. Kumaraswamy has come under attack from the BJP government in Karnataka for his remarks that “if Mahatma Gandhi were to be alive now, he would have either quit public life or become corrupt.”

The former Chief Minister on Sunday told presspersons in Hubli that the entire political system had become corrupt now and that it was difficult to build any political party without being corrupt. He had said that his party had received donations and it was a sort of corruption as those who make donations would naturally demand favours.

Ridiculing Mr. Kumaraswamy's remarks, Karnataka Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar told The Hindu: “By making such remarks, Mr. Kumaraswamy has proved that he is an antithesis to Gandhian Anna Hazare, who has launched a fight against corruption.”

The Minister said Mr. Kumaraswamy had done a great disservice to the campaign against corruption launched by Mr. Hazare by making remarks in support of corruption. “It is unfortunate that such remarks had come at a time when the entire country has seen a movement against corruption after a long time and rallied behind Mr. Hazare.”

“What the British could not do against Gandhiji [saying that Gandhiji would have become corrupt], Mr. Kumaraswamy has done now,” the Minister said.

“I only hope that the former Chief Minister apologises for his remarks and withdraws them at least after seeing the massive feedback against such a statement,” Mr. Suresh Kumar said.

Unnecessary controversy: Gowda

Hassan Staff Correspondent reports:

The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, termed the controversy unnecessary.

Talking to presspersons in Hassan, he said no politician of present times had the moral right to comment on the Father of the Nation.

Mr. Gowda said had Gandhiji wished, he could have occupied any position in independent India. But he was not after power. In fact, he wanted to dissolve the Congress soon after Independence. However, that did not happen. And, the Congress should take the blame for the growth of corruption in the country.

Mr. Gowda said he too had many times said that had Mahatma Gandhi been alive, he would have committed suicide after witnessing the level of corruption. Mr. Kumaraswamy had said the same thing. There was no need to whip up a controversy, he said.

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