Sarad Power protects corrupt people: Anna

Ralegan Siddhi: Firing a fresh salvo, Anna Hazare today accused Sharad Pawar of persisting with his "old habit of protecting corrupt people" even as he virtually justified the recent attack on the NCP chief, evoking a sharp reaction from the party.

Hazare alleged that Pawar turned a blind eye to a number of corruption cases. "If an inquiry is ordered, it will become clear who has been responsible. This shows that Sharad Pawar has an old habit of protecting corrupt people," he said.

Referring to the November 24 incident in Delhi when a youth slapped Pawar as he merged from a function, Hazare acknowledged that he "committed violence" when he made the infamous remark "just one slap" but said he did not consider this violence as wrong.

"For the betterment of the society and the country, I have used strong words many times in the past. "Just One Slap" I admit that I committed violence when I said that. But for the betterment of society, I do not consider this violence as wrong," Hazare posted on his blog.

"Many politicians felt very bad about the slapping incident. Many of them got very angry also. But it is important to discuss as to why did that youth slap. Sharad Pawar is the agriculture minister at the centre and the power minister of the state is from his own party (NCP). Today after 22 years, the electric pumps of the farmers still get burnt due to low voltage, the crops get burnt, the transformers get burnt, but the politicians still don`t get angry. This is unfortunate," Hazare said.

"The farmers protested at Mawal near Pune. They were shot at. Three farmers died. But the politicians still did not get angry about it," he said. As Agriculture Minister, Pawar imported rotten wheat and since it was not edible, the wheat was buried in huge pits, he said, adding crores of public money was wasted but none of the politicians got angry about it.

NCP leadership was quick to term Hazare`s tirade as uncalled for and even irrelevant. "There was no need for Hazare to comment on the issue despite the fact that his earlier comments on the (slapping) incident had evoked sharp reaction. We do not know why is he raking up the issue?," NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad told PTI in Mumbai.