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Gujarat CM's fast fails to impress Anna

Social activist Anna Hazare today said that the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's fast is not enough to create harmony among the people of Gujarat unless it is "backed by actions". Yogesh Joshi reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2011 23:53 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times

Social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday said that the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's fast is not enough to create harmony among the people of Gujarat unless it is "backed by actions".

In an interview to the Hindustan Times at his village Ralegan Siddhi, some 85 kilometers from Pune, Hazare advised Modi to create an atmosphere of peace by meeting those who suffered from the 2002 Gujarat carnage.

"Only fast for harmony and peace is of no use unless it is backed by action," said Hazare, a 74-year Gandhian currently fighting for "stronger" anti-graft bill.

"India is a democracy and anyone can fast. However, only fasts don't solve the problem unless there is some action," Hazare said about Modi's three-day fast for communal harmony in the state.

The Gandhian however added: "If (this) fast is intended to bridge the gap between two communities, then he (Modi) should meet those who are suffering. This will reduce the hatred among the communities."

Refusing to comment on recent Supreme Court ruling on Modi, Hazare said, "I cannot comment on this issue since I have not studied the matter."

The SC verdict, which sent back petition against Modi in a lower court of Gujarat, was interpreted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as clean chit to the Gujarat chief minister.

Hazare, who had previously praised Modi's work in Gujarat, criticised his administration for the reasons of corruption.

"I had previously praised the work in Gujarat. However when I went there, I saw scams in the state and therefore decided to retract my earlier statement."

Hazare has decided to take out a Yatra in poll-bound states asking people not to vote for those who are against Jan Lokpal Bill. On the issue that Hazare's yatra will coincide with the one announced by BJP leader LK Advani, he said: "We don't want to talk about BJP's yatra, but they should not take benefit of ours'."

Hazare, in 2009 state assembly elections, had endorsed 12 candidates of various parties contesting the elections. The crusader said, he will no longer endorse any candidate fighting the polls.

"Last time, some people from various parties came to me with an affidavit that they are clean. On the basis of that affidavit, I gave them written certificates, which they could use in the election to garner votes. However, some affidavits were found with false information and therefore I decided not to endorse any candidate in future."

On the appeal made by Hurriyat Conference seeking Hazare's support against government on the issue of unmarked graves in the Valley, Hazare said, "I am a simple person who lives in a temple. I cannot look into each and every issue. Rather, why don't those who want to raise voice become Anna Hazare?"

After Hazare's hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq sought Hazare's support seeking truth behind unmarked graves, which recently came into light in Jammu and Kashmir.

First Published: Sep 17, 2011 18:43 IST