Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray Friday questioned the credentials of social crusader Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign, claiming it appeared to target only Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
In Maharashtra and the rest of the country, Hazare has found only Pawar to be a corrupt leader and all others are as clean as washed rice, Thackeray said in a sharp edit in party mouthpiece Saamna.
"If that is so, then is the Lokpal Bill being proposed only for Pawar? Why are you (Hazare) fasting and melting your bones at Jantar Mantar? Both Pawar and Hazare hail from Maharashtra, then why are you trying to defame the state before the rest of the country? Why are you singling him out and targeting him?" Thackeray said.
Referring to Hazare's Tuesday blog in which he alleged that Pawar has an old habit of shielding the corrupt, Thackeray demanded why Hazare was not speaking out against those supporting Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who is accused of involvement in the 2G spectrum scam. Pawar was slapped by a man in Delhi last month over price rise and corruption.
Raising doubts over Hazare's knowledge of Gandhi's philosophy, Thackeray said merely wearing a Gandhi cap does not imply there is a 'Gandhi' in you - "Read Gandhiji and experience him, he never used violence in words, thoughts or deeds � First Hazare supported the Pawar slapping incident, then regretted and then again supported it," Thackeray said, ridiculing Hazare's changing stance on the issue as bordering on "madness".
Saying Hazare was reduced to a mere "puppet" in the hands of his Team Anna members, Thackeray said they were "airing their opinions through Hazare, which is a terrible thing".
"This means that it is Hazare's waist and somebody else's dhoti (cover). These people lack courage to question Sonia Gandhi, her relatives and Bofors scam on their blog," Thackeray said.
"We shall ensure the defeat of Sharad Pawar and his Nationalist Congress Party through the ballot boxes. For this we don't need Hazare's verbal mafia language," Thackeray said in conclusion.