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Kejriwal to tour Uttar Pradesh despite ‘threat'

K. Balchand
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Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal

Despite his fear of an attack on him, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal will embark on his campaign in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, and social activist Anna Hazare began ‘maun vrat' in his native town of Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra.

Mr. Kejriwal maintained that he was warned by his friends in the media about the possibility of an attack on him, but said he had not received any threat call or message.

The perceived threat gains significance in the wake of the attack on another Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan for his remarks favouring a plebiscite in Kashmir. Team Anna dissociated itself from Mr. Bhushan's stand, but retained him as a member of its core committee.

“Conspiracy”

Mr. Kejriwal, however, maintained that the attack on Mr. Bhushan had nothing to do with his views and said it was a conspiracy by corrupt forces to divert the people's attention from the fight for a strong Lokpal.

After campaigning against the Congress in the Hisar Lok Sabha by-election in Haryana, the result of which will be declared on Monday, Mr. Kejriwal is embarking on a tour of Uttar Pradesh to highlight the issue of corruption and the need for an early legislation to establish the Lokpal. But he made it clear that his objective was only to educate the people and urge them to wait and watch whether or not the UPA government passed the Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament.

Mr. Hazare would hit the election-bound State and attack the Congress only if the UPA government failed to pass the Bill in December.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written to Mr. Hazare, assuring him that the government was coming up with a strong Lokpal Bill. But Team Anna is apprehensive that the reported move to give the Lokpal a constitutional status might delay the legislation.

There were also reports about a possible meeting between Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Mr. Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi in the near future. The sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi is likely to call on Mr. Gandhi to invite him to visit the town and see the development work done there.


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