Anti-graft crusader says attacks on leaders result of genuine anger felt by common man over corruption, price rise
Taking his 'Just one slap' statement a little further, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare said incidents like the attack on Sharad Pawar would not be repeated if there were no corruption and inflation.
Though Hazare condemned the attack on the Union Minister for Agriculture, he also criticised the NCP activists for raising a rumpus over the incident.
"If NCP activists can get angry when Pawar was slapped, then why did they keep mum when the police fired on the farmers at Maval?" said Hazare at a Gramsabha meeting in Ralegansiddhi.
"One should also try to understand that people are expressing their anger over corruption and price hike. Nothing would have happened if both these things were under control."
Appeal for peace
Hazare appealed to the villagers not to fight or argue with NCP activists. "We shall not respond to them; let them come and agitate in the village," he said.
The NCP activists organised an 'atmaklesh' (self-penance) agitation yesterday from 11.30 am till 1 pm.
The local police detained 25 NCP activists and released them at the outskirts of Ralegansiddhi.
NCP activists also burned effigies of Hazare at Parner and Ahmednagar on Thursday.
There was heavy police bandobast at Ralegansiddhi and a commando team was also deployed.
Sanjay Pathare, Hazare's personal assistant, described the 'atmaklesh' agitation as nautanki.
"Two NCP activists Rajendra Phalke and Ashok Sawant met Hazare on Thursday at Ralegansiddhi and showed their moral support, yet they participated in the atmaklesh agitation on Friday," said Pathare.
"These people took part in the agitation just to please their senior bosses and get a ticket for the upcoming civic polls. This is ridiculous as they all came for the agitation after having a heavy breakfast."
Superintendent of Police Krishna Prakash, Ahmednagar, said the law and order situation was under control. "Anna has already been given 'Z' security and nothing shall happen to him," he said.
Senior Inspector Sunil Shivarkar from Parner police station said all the routes to Ralegansiddhi were sealed by the police and no anti-social elements could enter the village.
'People with NCP, not Anna'
Pune Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal said that Hazare and his supporters should not be telling NCP how to conduct atmaklesh agitation.
"He should introspect himself and ask the question if he is a real Gandhian follower or not. People have realised the truth and they are with us (NCP), not with Anna," he said.
Suresh Ghule, president, NCP, Pune district, also condemned Hazare for his comment on Pawar.