Hazare invites Army chief to join his team

Chandrapur/New Delhi: Anna Hazare has invited Army Chief Gen V K Singh to join his team after retirement in the countrywide campaign against corruption. "I am personally not inclined to ask or request anyone to join our agitation against corruption but we have fought two wars including one against Pakistan during my service in the Army. Now we have to fight the enemy within us," he said in Chandrapur in Maharashtra.

The anti-corruption crusader said this fight is more important than the earlier ones, he said. "And we need likeminded people in our team and if interested, Gen V K Singh is welcome to join us after his retirement. It would be his choice," Anna told reporters last evening when they asked him whether he would like to invite the Army Chief to join his team.

The anti-corruption crusader is currently touring Maharashtra to campaign for a strong Lokayukta Act in the state. The 35-day long state-wide tour, which ends on June 5, will be his first major assignment after the December 2011 agitation in Mumbai. Hazare also plans to step up his campaign in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.He will visit Delhi on June 3 to take part in an agitation by yoga guru Ramdev at Jantar Mantar.

Hazare said that the government was unwilling to bring Right to Information (RTI) Act into force, but had budged after several years of agitation and implemented it in Maharashtra in 2002, and it was later brought into force throughout the country. Hazare`s invitation to Gen Singh was welcomed by Team Anna member Kiran Bedi who urged ex-servicemen to participate in the campaign against corruption. "Anna`s invite to General VK is most appropriate. Imagine if ex-servicemen join Anna they can become a formidable voice against corruption," she tweeted.

This is the first time Team Anna is extending a direct invitation to Singh to join his movement. The Army Chief had in August last year shown tacit support to Team Anna`s campaign against corruption. "We are witnessing the power of democracy, the power of the people," he had said. Last month, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal while extending support to Gen Singh had said he was sure that the Army Chief will take a decision on what he will do after retirement on May 31 on the issue of fighting corruption.