Social activist Medha Patkar, who is supporting the anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare, Tuesday said that no political party had so far given their written support on the civil society’s Jan Lokpal bill. She also criticized writer Arundhati Roy for likening Hazare’s movement to the Maoist movement, saying it was aimed at destabilising the country.
Patkar, who was here to participate in the India Against Corruption’s Madhya Pradesh chapter, asked about political parties’ reaction to the Jan Lokpal bill, said: “No political party has given any written reaction on Jan Lokpal so far.”
She also warned the parties on the issue. “But if the parties, who make manifestos and forget it after elections, such thinking is not going to work anymore. Now the time has come that the politicians who would be clean and support Jan Lokpal will only win and return to parliament.”
She also said that no tainted politician should come to talk with Anna Hazare over the Lokpal issue.
However, she quickly added, “It is my personal opinion and the final decision should be taken by the core committee of Anna Hazare team.”
Asked if the Manmohan Singh government had entrusted the responsibility of talking to Hazare on former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, she replied, “I always said that tainted politicians should not mediate in the issue, and for the government Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan is a better option than Vilasrao Deshmukh, as his image is clean so far.”
Patkar criticised writer Arundhati Roy for her article in The Hindu in which she said Anna Hazare’s movement and the Maoists’ movement were similar and aimed to destabilize the country.
“I have respect for her, but here I beg to differ as Anna Hazare’s movement is not to weaken democracy but to strengthen the constitution.”
She also rubbished the claim of Arundhati Roy that the Ford Foundation and Coca-Cola’s money had been used in the movement.
“So far as I know, no such money has been used in the movement, and till we are supporting it we will insure no such money can be used.”
Reacting to the criticism of Hazare’s movement by other social activists like Shabnam Hashmi, Udit Raj and Tushar Gandhi, Patkar said, “We have great respect for all of them and we have worked together on several issues, but in a country of 1.21 billion, people will criticize, and this had happened with Mahatma Gandhi’s movements too,” she added.
Later, the members of India Against Corruption led by Patkar gheraeod the offices of Congress and BJP demanding a strong Lokpal bill.