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Blowing the lid off an already suspected official line that Anna Hazare skipped a joint rally with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee due to ill health, the anti-graft crusader on Friday admitted he did not attend the public meeting at Ramlila Maidan because of thin attendance, and clarified his support was only for the West Bengal Chief Minister and not for her party.
He accused Santosh Bharatiya of Jantantra Morcha, which was instrumental in Hazare coming out to back Banerjee, of misleading him.
The anti-graft crusader also said now it was difficult for him to support Banerjee. “No. Now, some such people, who deceive me, have got associated with Mamata Banerjee which makes it difficult for me to support her,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
About his absence in the rally, he said, “I kept checking. At 11(on Wednesday), I found out there were only 2,000-2,500 people at the rally, even at 2 0’clock there was no crowd – not even 4,000 people came. I thought something is amiss if the place that had been full of people for 12 successive days has no crowd. There were no people and they were calling me. This the dhokhadhadi (deceit),” he said. Pressed about who deceived him, he said: “It was Santosh Bharatiya.” Bharatiya denied the allegation, saying it was “baseless”.
Hazare said the miscommunication had been such that while he had been under the impression it is a Trinamool rally, Banerjee had been told it was his rally. He , however, said, “ I have a lot of respect for Mamataji and her simple lifestyle. She is the best Chief Minister… But that support is not for the party.”
Trinamool spokesman Derek O Brien tweeted: “After the rally Mamatadi graciously said what needed to be said. We wish him well.”