Estranged team Anna member and saffron-clad social activist Swami Agnivesh is set to enter a completely different world of the TV reality show - Bigg Boss - his close aide confirmed on Monday. Swami Agnivesh, who fell out with Anna Hazare's team after he was allegedly caught on camera speaking to an unidentified person, whom his former colleagues alleged was a union minister, is likely to enter the Bigg Boss house today.
Activist Swami Agnivesh held a press conference this morning in Mumbai to explain what prompted him to join reality show Bigg Boss.
The saffron clad guru said that the show producers approached him five days ago and that he has watched many episodes. Finding neither fault with the show's format nor any objection with the content, the saffron-clad activist said: "People fight on the show but no worse than how MPs sometimes behave. It's possible to bring about change with Bigg Boss. I've fought for forty-five years against exploitation in society, dowry, bride-burning, casteism, female foeticide; and it's been mission of my life to strive for gender equality, I think I can teach these youngsters a thing or two."
When reporters quizzed him about the money part, Agnivesh categorically denied having any monetary interests. As part of the show, stringent budget controls are always in place. What would he do in the middle of such circumstances? Agnivesh responded: "I'm a pure vegetarian, I don't even have eggs. I follow a regimen of yoga and meditation - spirituality brings me mental balance. I could share with youngsters inside about my ethos in a friendly way. I'd deal with them just as one deals with their own kids."
Will this show tarnish your image? Denying this quite strongly, he said: "I'll be sharing by way of conversation, my beliefs. I've been chairperson in Human Rights Committee, I've advocated against child labour. I've even stayed in the middle of Maoists in Bastar, I don't think this can tarnish my image."
"Swami will spread his message through the programme. Whenever he finds a challenge, he accepts it and that is the reason why he accepted this," his close aide, Manu Singh had said previously.
He exited the anti-corruption movement fronted by Anna Hazare after a public and bitter falling out. Swami Agnivesh was in the eye of a storm soon after Hazare's 12 day hunger strike in August when a video leaked on the internet. The video showed Agnivesh allegedly talking to Kapil Sibal, who asked him to deal sternly with team Anna. Though Agnivesh denied having spoken to Kapil Sibal later. After lying low for more than a month, Swami Agnivesh had last month alleged that key Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal had diverted the money collected at Ramlila Ground to his NGO's account.
Reacting to the question about fallout with Anna Hazare, Swami Agnivesh said: "I've come to know Anna in the past 8 months quite closely, during the Jantar Mantar movement. And I'm glad Anna is talking about changes in his team. I was saying this all along. There are several attacks and counter attacks, but the point remains that corruption should be eradicated. We may exchange allegations (on Team Anna) but we are all working towards the same goal - ending corruption."
He will be the fifth male contestant to be a part of the Bigg Boss house, which is dominated by female contestants like Pooja Bedi, Juhi Parmar, Shonali Nagrajan among others.