Anna Hazare repeated on Friday that he would lose his deposit if he fought elections,because voters were not informed enough and people in the villages could be influenced by money and alcohol.
Justifying his lack of faith in the existing electoral system,the anti-corruption activist said,I feel I should contest elections,but if I do so,I will lose my deposit… I will not do so. Hazare was speaking at the Idea Exchange programme at Loksatta,the Marathi daily of The Indian Express Group.
Voters are not alert,Hazare said. An informed voter is the crux of democracy. In villages,even today if a Rs 500 note is waved in front of people they will vote for you,and a drunkard will vote for you if he is promised alcohol.
Hazare has spoken of his lack of faith in the Indian voter before. He said the same thing a little over a year ago that he could never win an election because people give away their votes for Rs 100 or a bottle of liquor or a sari.
Today,Hazare said,I tell youth to enter politics but to not jump into it. I urge them to work for a couple of years for the people,to build support and then contest elections. I will campaign for such youth. It will give a good alternative to people when they go to vote. I will not contest,nor will I start a political party,but I will give people good options.
Hazare defended the members of his core team against allegations of impropriety. Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi overcharging her hosts for flight tickets details of which were reported by The Indian Express last October was not the same as the corruption of politicians,Hazare said,because she had not gained personally from it.
The issue about the airfare… Did she put the money in her pocket or for her family? Bedi has worked for many causes and she has not done so with expectations of gain. That is the difference between a politician and an activist, Hazare argued.
Asked if the perceived arrogance of people around him was hurting the anti-corruption movement,Hazare said: It could be so,there could be… this problem has affected many people for centuries. But my belief is that people with such attitude cannot serve people.
Hazare said that Mufti Shamoon Qasmi,the sole Muslim face in the core committee,was removed after he was caught taping proceedings of the meeting,possibly to leak them to the media. The meeting is held behind closed doors so that there can be discussions and different opinions can be expressed. Some things have to be kept among members, Hazare said.
Asked if that did not contradict his demand for transparency in decision-making,Hazare said,Once a decision has been made,it has to be made public. While discussions are still on,it is not for the public. Otherwise,what is the point of holding a closed-door meeting?
Hazare said he would not form any anti-corruption campaign team with spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and yoga guru Baba Ramdev,but they would support each others campaigns.