Wary of the adverse impact his pro-Narendra Modi statement might have on the anti-corruption plank, veteran crusader Anna Hazare on Wednesday appealed to the citizens to stay focused on the main issue of corruption.
Faced with angry reactions from civil society activists, particularly those actively involved in the struggle against communalism and seeking justice for the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat, Hazare has skipped any reference to the issue in his appeal. In a clear indication of the growing divide between the civil society activists on the Modi issue, Hazare said people should not pay attention to disinformation and distractive campaigns.
“It is clearly evident that there is handful of people who are already active trying to create schisms in this great coming together of all sections of our society to fight for a corruption-free future,” said the veteran Gandhian. Hazare had kicked up a major controversy with his praise of the Gujarat chief minister along with Bihar’s Nitish Kumar for their work on rural development during a press conference on Sunday. Hazare had clarified within hours that he was opposed to all sorts of communalism and condemned communal riots.
This, however, failed to convince the activists, who have asked the veteran Gandhian to oppose communalism in clear terms. Big names among civil society activists - Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Sandeep Pandey and Kavita Srivastava have termed Hazare’s move as unfortunate and unacceptable. Hazare’s appeal is an attempt to put an end to controversies which have been raking up almost everyday since he ended the fast-unto-death on Saturday. Various political parties have reacted sharply to his statements on politicians being corrupt. He has also sought to go on an offensive against his critics.
“I consider myself, Anna Hazare, a non-entity….However, some of the crucial junctures of the history demand that we live up to our national values and ideals; not living up to those values and ideals is like a living death,” he stated.