On Sundau, Anna Hazare had praised "the way the Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Bihar have worked in their states," and added that "this should be adopted by other Chief Ministers. When a reporter referred to the 2002 riots in Gujarat, the Gandhian had clarified: "I do not support communal politics, riots or any such thing. I am only talking about decentralization of power." Meanwhile, in the face of protests against Mr Hazare, the Gujarat CM decided to share his "heartfelt feelings in an open letter to Annaji". Now Mallika Sarabhai, who was one of the more visible and well-known faces supporting Anna Hazare's movement for a Jan Lokpal Bill, has joined issue.
We present the e-mail exchange between Mr Hazare and Ms Sarabhai:
From Ms Sarabhai to Mr Hazare
We are deeply shocked by your endorsement of Narendra Modi's rural development. There has been little or no rural development in this state. In fact gauchar lands and irrigated farmlands have been stealthily taken by the government and sold off at ridiculous prices to a small club of industrialists.
There has been no Lokayukta in Gujarat for nearly seven years so hundreds of complaints against corruption are lying unheard. From the Sujalam Sufalam scam of 1700 crores to the NREGS boribund scam of 109 crores, the fisheries scam of 600 crores, every department is involved in thousands of crores of scams.
The poor and rural people are being sold to Modi's friends the industrialists. The state is in terrible debt because of his largess to industry while 21 lakh farmers wait for compensation. Your endorsement is appalling and we will be forced to distance ourselves from the Lokpal movement unless it is irrevocably retracted.
Press statement by Anna Hazare:
I am issuing this statement to clarify one of my statements which has been misinterpreted.
On a question asked in my press conference today, I praised only the developmental work done by Sh Narendra Modi and Sh Nitish Kumar in rural areas. Alongside I clarified that I am equally opposed to any form of communal disharmony. I am completely opposed to any kind of communalism or discrimination on religious or caste lines. I strongly condemn and oppose any kind of communal violence. People from all faiths and religions are founders, supporters and participants in this movement. This includes, Arch Bishop of Delhi, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi and others. I strongly believe in Gandhian values and principles of communal harmony.
I also wish to clarify that we are not attached to any political party. The movement is completely nonpartisan and will remain so.
I sincerely urge the press to understand my intentions, which is to save this country from corruption by taking people of all faiths and religions along.
From Mr Hazare to Ms Sarabhai:
12th April 2011
Let me at the outset say that I am totally apolitical and strongly against communalism.
I am pained that I am having to explain myself on Mr. Modi. I was asked a question about Bihar's and Gujarat's Chief Ministers development work at the Press Conference, and based on media reports I said that Bihar and Gujarat have done good work in rural development. At the same time I condemn the 2002 riots and communalism.
I am with no party, I stand for no party. I am totally apolitical and focus on rooting out corruption in my life.
This is a long struggle and I trust people like you who have fought for people's rights will understand the spirit of this movement.
I have faith that like -minded people as you will carry the torch forward.
KB @ Anna Hazare
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine