Hazare's movement should be apolitical: Hegde


Reflecting a rift within Team Anna Hazare, Justice Santosh Hegde has disapproved of the anti-Congress campaign by Arvind Kejriwal during Hisar bypolls, saying it was not the right thing to do and "we jumped the gun".

Hegde, who was a representative of Team Anna in the Joint Drafting Committee on Lokpal Bill, also took a dig at Kejriwal for his remarks that Hazare was above Parliament, observing that such things happen when somebody talks "too much".

Describing himself as an apolitical person, the former Karnataka Lokayukta said, "I believe the (Hazare) movement is and should be apolitical. Even before Parliament could debate the Lokpal Bill, they went to Hisar and campaigned against the Congress. I don't think it was the right thing to do."

He noted that corrupt people "are not just in the Congress" but in other parties as well.

"If Anna and the other team members felt compelled to intervene in the electoral process, they should have only asked the people to choose the best candidate. That would have been the ideal thing to do," Hegde told 'Outlook' when asked whether he was uncomfortable with the Hisar episode.

Emphasising that he was not pro-Congress, he said he did not know much about the Congress candidate in Hisar but claimed that Kuldeep Bishnoi (of Haryana Janhit Congress) and Ajay Chautala (INLD) were not above board. "How then we ask people to vote against the Congress?"

Queried whether he was consulted before the Hisar campaign, Justice Hegde said there was no specific consultation and after he raised his opposition, Kejriwal called him to clarify that the plan to oppose candidates had been shared and discussed.

"But to my knowledge, that was to be done only if Parliament and parties had reneged on their promise to pass the Lokpal Bill. I had to tell Kejriwal that, as far as Hisar was concerned, we had jumped the gun. Now, what happens if the Congress passes the bill during the Winter session?

... contd.

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