Anna for President? Rumours rife as activist receives string of politicians in just a week

Aides of anti-graft crusader rubbish speculation, say rumours may be political gimmick on part of government

In the backdrop of many politicians visiting noted anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare in his village Ralegansiddhi in the last eight days, rumours are rife that the activist has been offered the post of the country's president by the UPA government as the term of the incumbent is set to end next year.

No politics, please: Activist Anna Hazare, who his aides say has stated
many times he does not intend to join politics. File Pic

Referring to a meeting of Congress leaders in Delhi, at least one major local vernacular newspaper stated the party might be able to tame Hazare by offering him the country's highest post. The meeting referred to took place after the thumping response Hazare got during his fast last month at Ramleela Ground in Delhi for a Jan Lokpal bill. Reportedly, a veteran Congress leader also objected to the idea of making the offer to Hazare, saying the activist would not accept it.

Sanjay Pathade, a teacher from Ralegansiddhi who is close to Hazare, said there was no truth in the rumours. "It's all rubbish. Anna won't accept such offers," Pathade said. "The president's post shall not be used as a bribe by any party."

Ralegansiddhi Sarpanch Jaysingh Mapari, who was with Hazare during both the indefinite hunger strikes in Delhi, said he was confident Hazare would not "fall prey" to any offer of the kind. "Hazare knows the ministers very well after his two big stirs. I don't think any Union minister shall dare make such an offer," he said.

Among the politicians who visited Hazare recently were Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, former PWD minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, MP Bhausaheb Waghchaure from Ahmadnagar, MLA M D Bhegde from Maval and Bacchu Kadu from Sangamner. They discussed several issues with him.

There were also non-politicians lining up to meet Hazare. Raj Gopal Deora, the secretary from the State Cooperative Department, visited him and discussed the new law on the Cooperation Rules approved by the state government. Pune region information officer Vijay Kuvlekar and former divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh also met Hazare.

Medical check-up
w A TEAM of ENT doctors from Nashik visited Hazare to conduct a medical check-up on him. Ganesh Bhosale, a villager who was there during the check-up, said: "Anna has some hearing problem. The team did a thorough check-up and went. A report will be sent soon."

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