Pained to explain myself time and again on Modi

Ahmedabad: Social activist Anna Hazare has said he is pained that he has to explain himself time and again on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whom he had praised for developmental efforts.

"Let me at the outset say that I am totally apolitical and strongly against communalism," Hazare said in a letter to danseuse and activist Mallika Sarabhai yesterday.

The anti-graft crusader was reacting to Sarabhai`s e-mail expressing her shock at the former endorsing Modi.

"I am pained that I have to explain myself on Mr Modi. I was asked about Gujarat and Bihar Chief Ministers` development work in the press conference held in Delhi, and based on media reports I said Bihar and Gujarat have done good work in rural development," the Gandhian wrote from his native village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra`s Ahmednagar district.

"At the same time I had condemned 2002 riots and communalism," he said.

"I have focused on rooting out corruption in life. This is a long struggle and I trust people like you (Sarabhai) who have fought for people`s right will understand the spirit of the movement," Hazare said in the letter.

In a statement issued in Delhi over the issue on Sunday, Hazare had said, "On a question asked in my press conference, I praised only the developmental works done by Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar in rural areas. Alongside I clarified that I am equally opposed to any form of communal disharmony. I am completely opposed to any kind of communalism or discrimination on religious or caste lines."

"I strongly condemn and oppose any kind of communal violence. People from all faiths and religions are founders, supporters and participants in this movement. This includes, Arch Bishop of Delhi, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi and others," he had said.

Meanwhile, activists of Vadodara have strongly reacted to the statement issued by Hazare clarifying his remarks on Modi after breaking his fast over the issue of Lokpal Bill.

"Your vague clarification is only related to communal harmony and politics. We point out to you that your praise of Modi`s development order is misplaced," Vadodara based Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah said.

SUCI leader and coordinator of NGO Lok Andolan Gujarat D K Rath, in a letter written today to activist Swami Agnivesh, who has been actively supporting Hazare in his movement against corruption, said, "Annaji, recent utterances concerning Gujarat and other issues are sending mixed signals and creating apprehensions in our minds".

"Hopefully you (Agnivesh) along with (Arvind) Kejrival, Kiran Bedi and others will see to it that the movement does not falter (because of Hazare`s comments on Modi)."

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had in an open letter thanked and warned the 73-year-old activist that he may be subjected to a "vilification" campaign by a certain group "inimical" to Gujarat.

"Yesterday I heard about your blessings for me and my state. I fear that you will be subjected to vilification. A certain group inimical to Gujarat will not let go this opportunity to malign your love, sacrifice, penance and commitment to truth. They will try to tarnish your name because you spoke well of me and my state," Modi had said in an open letter to Hazare on Monday.