It may not have been a smooth ride to Farrukhabad, but when Arvind Kejriwal finally got there to address a rally of around 5,000 people, the activist-turned-politician got straight down to business. “Salman Khurshid had threatened us about this trip. Well, we are here. And we will return safely in a few hours,” he said.
Rattled by Kejriwal’s allegations that the trust that he ran with his wife had misused funds to the tune of Rs 71.5 lakh meant for the welfare of disabled people, and forged signatures of government officials, Khurshid told his supporters on October 17 that while Kejriwal was welcome in Farrukhabad, he should also make sure that he could go back.
En route to the venue of the rally, Kejriwal’s convoy was blocked briefly by supporters of the minister. Before he arrived at the venue, despite elaborate police arrangements, there were clashes between Congress workers and members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, an organisation of farmers that is supporting Kejriwal.
When he finally delivered his speech, two hours late, Kejriwal admonished, “People who don’t earn very much donate money for the differently-abled. But here, a minister is stealing from them?” He also rebuked the government for promoting Khurshid to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle.
“Will you vote for him again?” he challenged the audience. Some people shouted they wouldn’t. “You won’t forget? Promise you won’t forget this in two years?” Kejriwal asked, referring to the general elections scheduled for 2014.
Kejriwal has been demanding Khurshid’s removal since a TV channel carried detailed report alleging that an NGO headed by the minister and run by his wife embezzled money meant for the differently-abled.
The minister, who is in Delhi, refused to comment on Kejriwal’s rally.
Kejriwal may become power-hungry: Anna
Anna Hazare yesterday said that Arvind Kejriwal may never want to be wealthy, but he is not above being lured by power. “He does not have greed for money, but now after going to politics another kind of greed... I mean he will not become a minister himself...,” Hazare said in an interview. Asked if Kejriwal may end up being greedy for power, Hazare said, “It is possible, but he has no other greed.” Referring to the recent exposes by Kejriwal against various politicians, Hazare said he must take up the allegations one by one, and take each charge to its logical conclusion rather than charging all political leaders one after another. “You don't have to catch every one at the same time. Catch them one by one,” he said. Anna Hazare led the anti-graft movement demanding the Jan Lokpal bill, in which Kejriwal was among his colleagues. When Kejriwal announced the formation of a political party, Anna Hazare snapped ties with him.