Embarrassed by Anna Hazare’s sharp criticism of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP over conduct of some of its leaders, the party today said his “concerns are genuine” and show his “affection” for the party.
Former AAP member and Swaraj Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav, however, alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal never took Anna seriously. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is on a visit to Goa where Assembly polls are due next year, said the concerns raised by Hazare were “genuine”. He claimed the party took “quick and strong” action against anyone found in the “wrong”.
Kejriwal had sacked Sandeep Kumar, who was a minister, over an alleged sex scandal and said he had “betrayed” AAP’s values. Senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said the critisicm shows Hazare’s “affection” for the party. “That is why he felt hurt. Anna ji is very revered for us. But (even if) any common citizen had given such a reaction then it is worth taking a note of,” he said.
Hitting out at AAP, Yadav said while Hazare had censured the party in the past, his comments have a tone of “finality” this time around.
“I didn’t see Arvind taking Anna serioulsy at all even when we were in the party. While Anna has criticised AAP in the past, the indictment seems more severe because it is more comprehensive and there is a tone of finality. You don’t use expressions like ‘my dream is shattered’ everyday,” he said. Hazare had yesterday said he is “very saddened” to see that some of Kejriwal’s colleagues have gone to jail, while some others are “indulging in fraud”.
He was reacting to recent developments in AAP, including the sacking of Kumar over the alleged scandal. “I am very hurt…When he (Kejriwal) was with me, he wrote a book on gram swaraj…Will we call this gram swaraj? That’s why I am very sad. The hope with which I was looking at him (Kejriwal) is over,” he had said.
The social activist, who led an anti-corruption movement which later became a launch pad for AAP, said, “I was very hopeful for Arvind. I was hoping he will set a different example for politics in India and also that he will give a different direction to the nation. “I felt that way, but I am very saddened to see what his colleagues are doing. Some are going to jail, some are indulging in fraud.”
(With PTI inputs)