Illness stops Kejriwal from visiting Hazare, AAP leader Gopal Rai joins hunger strike
Citing ill health, Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal abandoned his plans to visit anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who continued his indefinite fast for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill for the third day.
Instead of Kejriwal, three AAP leaders – Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and Gopal Rai visited Ralegan Siddhi yesterday, and extended their support to the ongoing agitation. While speaking to mediapersons, Vishwas said that AAP was committed to ensuring the ratification of the Jan Lokpal Bill, and that they have chosen a political path towards a common goal.
Vishwas said that if Hazare asked them to leave everything, the party would do just that and join him in his indefinite hunger strike. Meanwhile, retired army chief General VK Singh will visit Ralegan Siddhi today. “During the previous agitation at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, the draft for Jan Lokpal Bill was approved.
If the government does not stick to the draft, then the party will not accept it,” Vishwas maintained. However, later Hazare said that it was not appropriate to comment on the bill before having a look at it. Glossing over speculations about a rift between Hazare and Kejriwal, Vishwas said that Kejriwal was to meet the activist, but had to stay back after doctors advised him rest for the day.
“On behalf of the party, Gopal Rai would join Anna Hazare in the indefinite hunger strike for Jan Lokpal Bill,” Vishwas said. He also slammed Samajwadi Party for opposing the Bill, and added that the party would decide if it was a ‘Lokpal or Jokepal’ Bill, once it is tabled in parliament. He maintained that Kejriwal would visit Ralegan Siddhi after he regains his health.
Won’t let Kejriwal share dais: Anna
Meanwhile, social activist Medha Patkar visited Hazare yesterday morning. On the third day of his fast, Hazare had lost 1.6 kg of weight. While speaking to the media, he said that he would allow Kejriwal to deliver a speech if the latter visits Ralegan Siddhi. But, he also clarified that he would not allow the AAP leader to share the dais, as he would not allow any political party to participate in the agitation for Jan Lokpal.
Reacting on Rai’s willingness to participate in the hunger strike, Hazare said, “I had asked Rai not to take part, but he is not ready to listen.” Taking strong objection to BJP leader Arun Jaitely’s comments, the activist said that BJP was equally responsible for failing to pass Jan Lokpal Bill. He asked why the party did not demand this, if the government was not ready to table the Bill.