Anna Hazare begins 5 Week Campaign from Shirdi

Anna Hazare yesterday  started his five-week Maharashtra wide tour to demand a strong Lokayukta from Shirdi and took a pot shot at several Congress leaders, including general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Accusing Chidambaram of trying to weaken his stir at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan last year, Hazare said that he conspired to foil his agitation but was not successful.

“I was produced before court saying peace would be disturbed (due to my agitation). I refused bail. I said I am ready to go to jail. I went to Tihar Jail,” Hazare said.

He added that it was not expected of him to agree to go to jail and hence Chidambaram’s plans failed.

“When the home minister of a country plans such schemes, where will the country go? Had the Jan Lokpal been there, Chidambaram would have been in jail now,” Hazare said.

Exuding confidence, Hazare said that within these 35 days of his tour, he will visit 35 districts and would motivate people to continue their fight against corruption.

Addressing a huge gathering after praying at the famous Sai Baba Temple in this town in Ahmednagar district, Hazare said that he will launch another massive movement once Lok Sabha elections were declared.

He also condemned the government by accusing it of not wanting to bring back black money stashed away abroad.

Earlier Tuesday, before leaving for Shirdi, Hazare lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and described him as an honest man, who is being remote controlled.

Criticising Rahul Gandhi for his recent visit to the drought-hit regions of Maharashtra, Hazare said the tour was a gimmick and added that visiting the area for a few hours would not solve the problem.

“Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the drought-hit Sarata region was highlighted in the media with long reports and photographs. But one has to understand that by just taking pictures and being in the area for a few hours, it is not going to solve any problems,” Hazare said.

This is Hazare’s first major tour after the December 2011 agitation in Mumbai which failed to evoke much response.

Anna will be visiting Mumbai June 2 as part of his state tour. He will also visit New Delhi June 3 to take part in an agitation by yoga guru Baba Ramdev in the capital.