The spat between Team Anna member VK Singh and AAP leader Gopal Rai irritated Anna who asked Rai to leave village.
The stories of fallout between anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his disciple and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal are like open secrets. They all started the moment Kejriwal decided to form a party and fight elections.
This split became more than open when Anna asked Aam Aadmi Party’s senior leader Gopal Rai to leave Ralegan Siddhi for disrupting his team member, former Army General VK Singh’s speech.
In a veiled attack, Singh was slamming the AAP and its leader calling them “opportunists” who “deserted” the Gandhian after using him and his anti-corruption movement as a plank to gain political mileage.
“When Annaji raised the voice for Jan Lokpal, many people rallied behind him but later left him. Today, they say it is because of them that there is Annaji and not because there is Annaji that they are there. Nobody can undermine something that Annaji has created.
“Today, if we have to take our nation forward, we need to unite and not float separate groups and separate parties,” Singh said.
This was followed by a verbal spat with Rai who was seated among the audience and observing a fast since Thursday. Calling him an “agent” of BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, Rai accused Singh of misleading Anna and creating a rift between his party and the anti-corruption crusader.
As the two engaged in a heated arguments, Anna, whose hunger strike for passage in Parliament of Jan Lokpal Bill entered its fourth day on Friday, took the mike and started berating Rai.
“You were told not to join the fast but you did. Now people are asking you not to interrupt (Gen. Singh’s) speech and you are interrupting. If you have to create a ruckus, you leave the village. Don’t sit here. It is not proper to interrupt people when they are speaking,” Hazare said.
Rai left the venue after few minutes and left the village too later on.
It should be noted that despite Anna’s denial to AAP sharing the Jan-lokpal agitation stage with him, Kejriwal in his victory rally in Delhi had said that the AAP leaders will join Anna in Ralegan Siddhi and sit in the audience. But Kejriwal was unable to make it due to his reported ill health.
It was in his place that Rai along with Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh made a presence at the fats venue.
However, it was claimed by the party that Kejriwal had spoken to Hazare who gave him his blessings.
Relations between the anti-graft activist and Kejriwal had come under severe strain after a video showing Hazare expressing disappointment over alleged misuse of funds collected during the India Against Corruption’s campaign for Jan Lokpal surfaced just ahead of the Delhi polls.
In Anna’s own words, Kejriwal was “greedy” for power. He had issued a statement which read: “Earlier I used to think that Arvind is into selfless service. But I don’t understand how this thought of entering politics came into his mind.”
Kejriwal had said he was “very, very sad” over the video and demanded an open probe into Hazare’s allegation. Hazare had later clarified he was mainly concerned about “misuse” of his name in the poll campaign and said the two are “not enemies”.
AAP has been trying to cover the rift for long. After the spat, AAP took social media and television by storm saying that the agents of Congress and BJP were misleading Anna.
Anna not sharing space with Kejriwal and AAP and also not saying anything to Singh who was clearly slamming the party shows that he is not happy with Kejriwal party. However hard AAP may try, the small yet consistent spats are only harming its image.
It will be good if AAP mends its ways and patches up with Anna soon. Else, there credibility will go down and the rumors will be considered true.