RALEGAN SIDDHI (Maharashtra): Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare on Wednesday attacked the Narendra Modi government for its ‘failure’ to bring back black money stashed in tax havens abroad and said people will teach it a lesson for the “fraud” perpetrated on them.
The 77-year-old Gandhian also refused to be drawn into the subject of political slugfest going on between his two former proteges Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal and BJP’s Kiran Bedi in the Delhi assembly elections.
“People were promised during Lok Sabha elections that black money will be brought back within 100 days (of BJP forming its government), that Rs 15 lakh will be deposited in the accounts of every citizen, but not even Rs 15 have come.
“People have become aware now of the fraud perpetrated on them. They will teach a lesson (to the BJP-led government) the way they taught one to Congress. The masses have awakened after 2011 movement against corruption,” he told NDTV in an interview.
Asked about his views on Kejriwal and Bedi, both his proteges in the India Against Corruption campaign, crossing swords for chief ministership of Delhi, the anti-graft crusader said he would not talk about politics.
“I don’t want to go into these things. Ask me about other things, ask me about the country. An Arvind or a Kiran is not important,” he said.
Questioned whether he was angry with them for entering politics against his advice, Hazare said, “No, no. The question of getting angry arises when you have expectations that are not fulfilled. I don’t have any expectations from anybody, so where is the question of anger?”
Anna Hazare with retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, social activist and Swami Agnivesh, on the dias, at the anti corruption rally at National College ground Basavanagudi in Bangalore on may 28, 2011. (TOI photo by Mohammed Asad)
He also refused to hazard a guess about who Kejriwal or Bedi will emerge triumphant in the polls.
“I don’t know. Ask them,” he retorted when persistently questioned about his views on Delhi elections and asked, “Why are you pushing me into the cesspool?”
Hazare said no change can be brought through party politics and that there was no mention of politics in the Indian Constitution.
“No change can be brought through party politics. The Constitution also does not mention politics. It says any Indian citizen can contest elections. When 543 good individuals win and choose the Speaker of Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister and run the country, change will come,” he said.
Hazare, however, acknowledged that the task was daunting and will take long to achieve.
“It will take 10-12-15 years. When people will awaken and reject party politics and choose 543 good people as their representatives, then true democracy will come. People made sacrifices for independence but there has not been any struggle for democracy,” he said.