Aam Aadmi Party leader Gopal Rai (L) and former Army Chief, General V K Singh in a verbal spat during fourth day of social activist Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike, at Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar on Friday.
Mumbai: The rift between Anna Hazare and the AAP, led by his former team member Arvind Kejriwal, burst into the open on Friday, with Hazare evicting AAP leader Gopal Rai from the venue of his latest fast. The incident followed thinly veiled comments by retired Army Chief General V.K. Singh against Kejriwal.
"When Annaji raised the call for Jan Lokpal, many rallied behind him but later left him. Today, they say it is because of them that there is Annaji and not because there is Annaji that they are there," Gen. (retd) Singh said.
Rai, who was fasting in solidarity with Hazare, objected to these statements, but the former Army Chief had the microphone and asked him not to interrupt. However, Rai demanded that Gen. Singh stick to the subject of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Interjecting at this point, Hazare asked Rai not to interrupt and leave the village.
Before leaving the venue, Rai said of Gen. Singh, "People who abandoned Anna and ran after Narendra Modi for a ticket are now giving sermons to AAP."
Defending his decision, Hazare said that it was an old practice in the Jan Lokpal movement to not allow politicians to share his platform.
Next: AAP ‘hijacking’ Anna’s agitation, alleges BJP
AAP ‘hijacking’ Anna’s agitation, alleges BJP
New Delhi: BJP on Friday accused Aam Aadmi Party of trying to "hijack" Anna Hazare’s agitation on Jan Lokpal Bill after the activist asked AAP leader Gopal Rai to leave his village when he interrupted former army chief V.K. Singh’s speech at a function.
Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said BJP salutes the agitation of Hazare and condemned AAP for its attempt to "hijack" his agitation.
"The whole country is watching what they (AAP) are doing. We condemn it," he said.
Naqvi said his party was in complete support of Lokpal Bill and blamed the Congress-led government for putting the bill on the backburner.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Bala Nandgaonkar, who left for Ralegan Siddhi on Friday, said he would be meeting Hazare to extend his party’s support. "We feel that the cause taken up by Anna is right. We request parties opposed to the bill to extend their support to the legislation," Nandgaonkar said.
Hazare’s associate and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi is expected to join his fast from Saturday.