A man claiming to be a Bharatiya Janata Party worker and social activist Anna Hazare’s supporter threw black ink at Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, claiming the RTI crusader-politician had "betrayed Hazare and the people".
Nachiketa Mavlekar, who claimed to be the BJP’s general secretary of Ahmednagar unit in Maharashtra, disrupted Kejriwal’s press meet in New Delhi, shouting “Anna Hazare Zindabad”.
Some ink also splashed on Kejriwal’s colleagues Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan.
AAP activists pulled Mavlekar out of the conference hall. Before the police whisked him away, he said the AAP was misusing Hazare’s name for political gains.
Amid a blame game over the ink attack, the BJP distanced itself from the heckler and condemned his act, but admitted he was a former member and worked with its IT cell around three years ago.
“He has been active with the Anna movement and India Against Corruption for the last two years and is currently not a Maharashtra IT cell member,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said in a statement.
“He is from Anna Hazare’s tehsil and has contested election against BJP’s official candidate.”
If we are not wrong, Anna should campaign for us: Kejriwal
Kejriwal and Sisodia on Monday said the AAP would not contest the Delhi assembly elections if charges of using India Against Corruption (IAC) movement funds for political campaigning were found true.
They were responding to a letter from Hazare in which he sought a clarification on IAC funds and sought his name not be used for AAP’s campaigning in Delhi.
Amid high drama over the ink attack, Kejriwal demanded Anna should get the matter investigated, preferably by a retired judge like Santosh Hegde, within a week. However, he added, “If nothing is found, we would like Anna to come to Delhi and campaign for us.”
Nachiketa Mavlekar, claiming to be a supporter of Anna Hazare and a BJP worker, threw ink at AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during a press conference at Constitution Club in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Sonu Mehta)
Kejriwal clarified, “Rs 23 lakh meant for the movement has been spent during the IAC movement (spearheaded by Hazare). We have not spent a penny on the campaign.”
In his letter, Hazare has also asked Kejriwal how he would pass the Jan Lokpal Bill at Ramleela Maidan on December 29, a promise made by Kejriwal, when such bills can only be passed in Parliament.
Kejriwal said, “The AAP is planning to introduce a Jan Lokpal Bill, which is similar to a bill passed by the Uttarakhand assembly under the BJP rule.”
Hazare has also sought clarification over sale of SIM cards. “Some delegations came to me and said you have SIM cards issued in my name, whose sale led to collection of funds. I have never allowed this. For this I can be dragged to court, which will be very humiliating. Your using my name is not correct.”
Kejriwal said the SIM cards were sold during Hazare's movement and a little over Rs 9 lakh was collected. “Anna gave the permission to sell those SIM cards.”
Despite the ink attack, Kejriwal declined to accept security. “I don't need security, God is there to protect me. We are challenging those in power, people with vested interests. This is why such attacks are being carried out.”
Kejriwal tweeted late on Monday night that he forgives Nachiketa and bears no ill against him:
(With inputs from agencies)