NEW DELHI: Chief ministers Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar were praised by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare for their efforts on rural development, with the Gandhian saying that their counterparts in other states should emulate them.
"The work of chief ministers of Gujarat and Bihar in their states should be adopted by other chief ministers," 73-year-old Hazare, who successfully led the agitation on Lokpal Bill issue, told reporters here on Sunday.
Hazare, though, was quick to add that he was not viewing their performance from any partisan angle but only highlighting the focus of development work at the grassroots level.
When a reporter referred to the 2002 riots in Gujarat when Modi was in power, the Gandhian said that he was only talking about the work of a chief minister and does not want to get into politics.
"I do not support communal politics, riots or any such thing. I am only talking about decentralisation of power," Hazare said.
When pointed out that Modi has not appointed a Lokayukta for the past nine years in Gujarat, he said, "I will accept Modi as 100 per cent ideal when he brings Lokayukta in his state."
Congress MP Rashid Alvi reacted sharply to Hazare's comments saying "no secular person in the country can support Modi.
"If you support Modi, you are supporting the massacre of 2002," he said,
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, however, praised Hazare for appreciating the work done in the party-ruled state.
"These are NDA-ruled states. Concrete steps are being taken there against corruption. This is good that he cited both the states as examples.
"There are many other NDA-ruled states where good work is being done against corruption. We appreciate that he has praised us," he said.
At the press conference, Hazare also denied any "personal" animosity with agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.
"There is no rift with Pawar. Six Ministers had to go on corruption charges. Why only name Pawar. My fight is against the trend and not against one Pawar. It is the deed not the person that I object to and fight against," he said.
Activist Arvind Kejriwal dismissed suggestions that Hazare had invited Pawar to be part of his agitation for Lokpal Bill saying the "question does not arise".
Hazare backs Raj's tirade against Non-Marathis
Veteran social activist Anna Hazare backs Maharashtra Navnirmaan Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's campaign against non-Marathi 'Dadagiri' (dominance) in Maharashtra, but opposes the violent means being used to achieve the purpose. The 71-year-old social activist expressed support for MNS's programme, while talking to journalists Saturday night after addressing students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on 'Gram Swaraj and Experience in Ralegan', his native village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra which he transformed into a model village through persistent efforts.
"Some ideas of Raj Thackeray were correct, but damaging public and national property was not right," Hazare said.
When asked which ideas of the MNS chief were correct, Hazare noted people from many states live in Maharashtra, but "outsiders trying to prove their dominance in the state was not at all acceptable".
In a reference to North India-based political parties like Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal trying to show their strength in Maharashtra by holding rallies and other programmes in the state, he said such activities were not acceptable.
"They have ample space in their states to hold such programmes," he noted.
When asked to comment on attacks by MNS activists on students from Bihar who had gone to Mumbai to appear in railway recruitment exams, Hazare said: "I do not support everything Raj Thackeray does. If violent means are adopted by MNS, it will not be in interest of a united India."
"We need to work for unity of the country and not for its disintegration through violence against innocents," he added.
Mallika Sarabhai's Response to Hazare
We are deeply shocked by your endorsement of Narendra Modi's rural development. There has been little or no rural development in ths state. In fact gauchar lands and irrigated farmlands have been stealthily taken by the government and sold off at ridiculous prices to a small club of industrialists. There has been no Lokayukta in Gujarat for nearly seven years so hundreds of complaints against corruption are lying unheard. From the Sujalam Sufalam scam of 1700 crores to the NREGS boribund scam of 109 crores, the fisheries scam of 600 crores, every department is involved in thousands of crores of scams. The poor and rural peoiple are being sold to Modiu's friends the industrialists. The state is in terrible debt because of his largess to industry while 21 lakh farmers wait for compensation.
Your endorsement is apalling and we will be forced to distance ourselves from the Lokpal movement unless it is irrevocably retracted.