Kejriwal used Hazare as a sacrificial lamb: Agnivesh
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Nearly two years after Anna Hazare first sat on a fast in Delhi to press for a strong Lokpal Bill, his then associate Swami Agnivesh has accused fellow traveller in the anti-corruption movement, Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal, of trying to use Hazare as a sacrificial lamb.
Both Agnivesh and Kejriwal were in the core committee of the now defunct India Against Corruption. Agnivesh claimed only Kiran Bedi in the committee shared his concern about forcing the activist into an indefinite fast. Kejriwal has refuted the charges and Bedi said she did not want to be part of the conversation.
Agnivesh recalled two occasions when his concerns about Hazare's health were overruled. "The first time was around April 1 or 2 when I asked whether it is right for younger people to make an old man sit on a fast. Arvind cited Anna's previous 'track record' in fasting in Maharashtra when he had succeeded in getting his demands met. I said demand for a Lokpal Bill can't be conceded within a matter of days and who would be responsible if something happens to him. He said, 'if something happens to him it will only hasten the revolution'," Agnivesh claimed.
The charges echo allegations levelled by Hazare's former blogger Raju Parulekar who had accused Kejriwal — well before he launched AAP — of using Hazare to further his own political ambitions.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Parulekar seconded Agnivesh. "Anna was aware he was surrounded by people who weren't concerned about his health. After Ramlila fast, Anna almost fled Medanta to avoid Kejriwal, Bedi and Kumar Vishwas. Prashant Bhushan was also part of the controversy but not an active party to it. They referred to Anna as the 'old man' whose 'martyrdom' would benefit the movement." He claimed groundwork for a party had started long before AAP was launched; back then, it was called Swaraj Party.