Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party would have increased its number of seats in the Delhi Assembly had he endorsed it. “If I had campaigned for it, Arvind Kejriwal would have become Chief Minister. But I did not want to do so, as I do not campaign for any political party,” Mr. Hazare told reporters in his native village, Ralegan Siddhi, in Ahmednagar on Monday. On Sunday, he had congratulated the AAP on its performance in the polls.
Two weeks before the elections, Mr. Hazare had said the AAP should not use his name in its campaigns. He also questioned the use of funds collected during the India Against Corruption movement in a letter to Mr. Kejriwal. But Mr. Kejriwal should not have made the letter public, he said. “I had written the letter to clarify my doubts. When he made it public, people doubted him and it affected the election results,” Mr. Hazare said.
Mr. Kejriwal sought his former mentor’s blessings through various TV channels after his party got the second place in the Delhi polls.
Asked whether Mr. Kejriwal would share the stage with him in his upcoming agitation for the Lokpal Bill, Mr. Hazare said: “He can support my agitation from outside but he will not be allowed on stage, as he is part of a political party now.” Mr. Hazare is beginning an indefinite fast demanding that the Lokpal Bill be passed in the ongoing Parliament session. Unlike in the 2011 agitation, there would be no “Team Anna” or a Core Committee. He would fight alone, he said. He demanded that the winter session of Parliament be extended to enable the passing of the Bill.
Warning the Congress, Mr. Hazare said the Assembly elections had proved that people had lost faith in the party. “If they pass the Lokpal now, as they have been promising, people’s faith can be restored,” he said.