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Advanis yatra gimmick, says Anna Hazare

Ralegan Sidhi: Anna Hazare on Tuesday called L K Advani`s proposed yatra against corruption as a "gimmick" and said he would not support the BJP unless it backs the Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament and its governments enact a legislation for appointing Lokayuktas in states.

Hazare, who was on a 12-day fast demanding strong Lokpal in New Delhi last month, tore into the Congress and UPA Government saying many people "inside the Congress think they are the Prime Minister".

"If Advani is serious on the issue of corruption, then instead of yatra, he should ask all BJP-ruled states to enact legislation for appointing Lokayuktas…it is a gimmick," he told television channels here.

"Absolutely not. If BJP says that they support Anna then they should bring Lokayukta bill in their states. First bring Lokayukta and then (ask for) support," he said in a response to a question whether he would join any political yatra, especially the one to be undertaken by Advani soon.

Hazare said he and his team would support BJP only if states ruled by the party Lokayuktas and back "Jan Lokpal in total" in Parliament.

Criticising Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Hazare, who was part of the Joint Drafting Committee along with the three, said they "behaved like prime ministers".

To a specific question about the three ministers, he said: "Everyone knows that they behave like Prime Ministers.

Why do you want me to spell it out?"

Hazare said he would support a front consisting of non-corrupt people from non-BJP, non-Congress parties but not lead them.

"I will support them but not lead them. Because that is the only solution to make a strong nation. The good people of all parties can come together and I will tell the people of the country to support them," the Gandhian said.

However, Anna was evasive to a pointed question why he had not raised his voice against the absence of a Lokayukta in Gujarat for the last seven years.

"Why just Narendra Modi? We should think about the entire country. There should be Lokayukta in every state," he said.

In a climb down, Hazare said he would not insist on death sentence for corrupt as it goes against Gandhian principles.

They should be put in prison for their life, he said, admitting that he changed his views after people told him that his demand would not be in accordance with Ganhdian ethos.

Accusing Chidambaram of "masterminding" his arrest on August 16, Hazare said: "The government wanted to do a Ramdev on me. It had kept a plane ready to take me from Tihar jail to Mula Dam in Maharashtra. But Chidambaram`s strategy boomeranged on the government," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a nice person, but is "ineffective" because he was "remote-controlled" by senior ministers, Hazare alleged.

Asked would he begin his protest again if the Standing Committee does not agree to his demands, Hazare said: "Yes. We will protest but not against Parliament…We will see those who oppose it in the standing committee and we will start singing bhajans in front of the houses of those parliament members."

"No, not at all…there is no question of politics in this," he said when asked whether it wasn`t politics.

Hazare lavished praise on Indira Gandhi saying she worked for the poor in the country.

"She was elected as the Prime Minister. They should look at that," he said. "Absolutely," was all he said when asked whether Singh should learn from Indira Gandhi.

Asked whether his movement is being politicised, Hazare said: "That will happen…this happened many times in my life…When I protested during Congress government, BJP and Shiv Sena leaders were roaming around me…that govt went and BJP-Shiv Sena came to power. Congress did graduation and the latter got a doctorate."

He said if he comes to know black money is used in his movement he will not lead it.

"Till the time I will be associated with this movement, I want it to be clean. It should be spotless. People who write and say, are they honest? How can we believe they are honest? The colour of spectacles we wear, we see the world in that colour," he said.

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