Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday termed the amended Lokpal a ‘jokepal’, expressing disappointment over anti-graft activist Anna Hazare’s decision to support the bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
Soon after Hazare said he would call off his indefinite fast if the bill was passed in the Upper House, Kejriwal said on social network side Twitter, “Why did Anna agree for such a jokepal? Which forces are misleading him? I am really sad.”
After AAP leader Gopal Rai was publicly snubbed by Hazare on Friday, he had voiced similar concerns and said, “Many people are... poisoning Anna’s ears.”
Hazare made the announcement from his fast venue at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharshtra, minutes after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi came out strongly in support of the bill at a press conference in Delhi.
The anti-graft activist, who has earlier spearheaded a civil society movement along with Kejriwal for the bill, said most of his demands were satisfied by the government in the amended draft.
Hazare added his main contentions were the inclusion of Prime Minister, and Grade 2 and 3 officers, CBI’s autonomy and the constitution of Lokpal. All these issues have been addressed properly, he said.
But, Kejriwal contradicted him. "CBI has not been made autonomous. CBI will continue to be under govt’s control. How can Anna accept sarkari lokpal bill?” tweeted Kejriwal.
Differences have surfaced between Hazare and Kejriwal — who once stood united for Lokpal under the banner of India Against Corruption — after the formation of the AAP.
On Friday, Hazare asked Rai, who had interrupted former Army chief Gen VK Singh’s speech, to leave the fast venue. Singh had apparently taken a dig at Kejriwal, saying, “We should not split and form different groups in our fight against corruption for personal gains.”
The cracks had appeared after a video showed Hazare expressing disappointment over allegations of misuse of funds against the AAP, which surfaced ahead of the Delhi polls, collected during the India Against Corruption’s campaign for Jan Lokpal.
Hazare had later clarified he was mainly concerned about “misuse” of his name in the poll campaign and the party was not an enemy.
Even on Saturday, before Kejriwal’s tweets kicked up a storm on the social network site, Hazare said the AAP was free to make independent decisions.
He was asked to comment on the AAP’s threat to launch a separate agitation if the bill was diluted.