Shunning his oft-repeated stance that he would not campaign for any political party, including the nascent party born out of association with his Lokpal movement, social activist Anna Hazare Thursday agreed to campaign for Trinamool Congress in the Lok Sabha elections.
This was revealed after Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy met Hazare in his village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra on Thursday. The meeting comes after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party agreed to adhere to the 17-point economic agenda Hazare had sent to various political parties.
Hazare had asked Trinamool to file an affidavit agreeing to incorporate the points in its manifesto. The meeting with Roy was a follow-up to this demand.
A formal meeting with Banerjee and Hazare will be arranged in New Delhi on February 18.
Roy said although TMC might not have an organizational presence across the country, Banerjee is well known. “Similarly Anna is a well known name and this new polarisation will usher in a new era in Indian politics,” he said.
“Hazare has assured that for the first time, he will campaign for a political party. It is the Trinamool Congress. He will now meet my leader in Delhi on the 18th,” Trinamool chief whip in Rajya Sabha Derek o Brien said.
Sources close to Hazare confirmed he would support Trinamool during his tour across the country from next month, though it is yet to be decided which states he will cover.
This comes two years after Banerjee rebuffed Anna and his then associates’ plea to support the Janlokpal movement.
Hazare had some time back written to all political parties asking for his 17-point economic agenda to be included in their manifestoes. Trinamool informed him many points have already been fulfilled by the party and they are willing to take up the rest.
There are also indications of a possible thaw in relations between Hazare and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal and some party members met Hazare in Delhi earlier this week. “I told them about the letter. He said he never received it, which is possible as I sent the letter earlier. I said I will send the letter so that he can take a decision on including those points in the manifesto,” Hazare had told The Indian Express Wednesday.
On Friday, the first question to the AAP was related to its “anti-national activities”.