Gen V K Singh Hazare’s new Kejriwal?

Mumbai: A joint media briefing by Anna Hazare and former Army chief Gen V K Singh here on Monday indicated the latter has replaced Arvind Kejriwal in the social activist's scheme of things.

On more than one occasion, Singh replied to queries directed at Hazare, expounding on the new startegy of the anti-graft movement.

He was seen fielding "tricky" questions addressed to Hazare, coming out with his own explanation while doing so.

Hazare had also served in the Army and his admiration for the General was evident as he announced their plan of a nationwide tour. "We are not just two people. Lakhs and crores will come onto the streets to support the movement," Hazare said.

On his part, Gen Singh slammed the current system for "completely ignoring" the principle of a welfare state enshrined in the Constitution and surrendering to market forces.

"The existing governmental system has completely disregarded the soul and spirit of the Constitution. Part 4 of the Constitution, the Directive Principle of State Policy, has been blatantly ignored. Not just the government but also the Opposition is silent over this issue."

"The question that comes up is as to who has given the right to ignore the core philosophy of Constitution? Governments policies are supposed to be for the well-being of poor masses but these are somehow being made to help the private companies to make profit. No one is questioning these policies in Parliament," he said.

"Let all political parties put forward their stand on this breach of trust and let the people decide whether they want a government to be run according to the soul and spirit of the Constitution or driven by the market of neo liberal policies," Singh said.

"On the issue of water, forest, land and mineral wealth people have lost faith in the government. Rivers and all possible sources of water are being privatised. Forests are being sold to the private companies in the guise of mining, and consequently tribal people are being displaced from their traditional habitat and occupation."

"The governments are not even hesitating in selling cultivable land to private companies after acquiring it from farmers. The land that should naturally belong to the people of the country is being distributed among private companies," he said.

The price of cooking gas has been arbitrarily increased on the pretext that petroleum companies are suffering losses whereas company accounts only show profits, he said.

"On one hand the common man is suffering while on the other large number of political leaders in power are being charged with corruption. It appears that the mantra of collective responsibility of cabinet in democracy has been forgotten by the Prime Minister," he said.