A day after his team demanded a probe into the graft allegations against new President Pranab Mukherjee, social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday congratulated him and refused to be drawn into any controversy on the issue.
Hazare complimented Mukherjee before he proceeded to Jantar Mantar from the Maharashtra Sadan to join his team members on the second day of their indefinite fast.
“He (Pranab Mukherjee) is the top most person in the country by becoming the President. I congratulate him,” Hazare told reporters.
Asked about the allegations raised by his team against him, Hazare refused to answer, saying, “... do not want to speak about it now.” This was in stark contrast to what Kejriwal had said on Wednesday. “Had Lokpal been there, Mukherjee would not have been the President. The Constitution provides immunity to President from any investigation. Now, Congress has put a ‘chadar’ (veil) of constitution on the President,” Kejriwal had said.
Hazare, however, in his speeches has been more restrained and did not make any personal remarks against either Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or any other ministers.
Mukherjee’s photograph has also been covered on the main stage on which Hazare’s colleagues Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai are sitting on fast.
Earlier, the President’s photo was prominently displayed among the 15 ministers, against whom Team Anna has been demanding a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
As news channels flashed that Hazare had contradicted his colleagues on the issue of President being drawn into a controversy, Team Anna tried to downplay the issue.
“It is being said Anna has gone against the team. Is it not part of Indian tradition to congratulate somebody who has assumed a high office? How does it dilute our stand against tainted ministers?” Rai said.
He termed the reported differences between Hazare and the team as a ploy to show division in the team, which would not succeed. “Some forces are trying their best to divide us, but none will succeed,” he said.