Anna Hazare not to form any Political Party or Contest Elections

After Prolonged Challenge by Congress Leader Digvijay Singh to fight Elections, Social Activist Anna Hazare made it clear that he is neither joining politics nor launching a political party.

The 75-year-old anti-corruption crusader said several people have been asking him to come out with an “alternative” against corrupt politicians.

“I don’t think I should launch a political party or stand in general elections… My heart does not go with it. But I will give an alternative to people,” Hazare told IANS in an interview at the Maharashtra Sadan where he is staying.

The soldier-turned-activist, who last year shook the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a spirited anti-corruption campaign, will Sunday join an indefinite fast now on near Jantar Mantar, an 18th century observatory, asking the government to introduce a Jan Lokpal Bill.

Three of his key aides have been fasting since Wednesday. Hazare sits at the venue eight-to-nine hours every day.

According to Hazare, people can pick their candidates and Team Anna will support them.

“I will tell people they should select their leaders themselves but not from the ruling or opposition parties. They should look for candidates with a clean background and those who have done something good for the society.

“We need good people to be elected to parliament as we don’t have good leaders from the ruling or opposition parties. We saw how the ruling party and opposition joined hands for increasing their salaries and stopping Jan Lokpal bill,” he said.

Hazare admitted there were not many people at the protest venue this time compared to last year when tens of thousands poured into Jantar Mantar and later the bigger Ramlila ground.

“Our protest is not (for) gathering crowds but (to attract) people who are passionate to work for the society and country,” he said.

But he added that thousands were simultaneously protesting and fasting in 500 districts across India.

Last year, the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but could not get through the Rajya Sabha.

“I don’t know why people are not coming,” Hazare said of the thin crowds, wearing his trademark Gandhi cap and starched white kurta and dhoti. He quickly added that this did not intimidate him.

“I am not bothered about it. For so many years I protested in a room in (my Maharashtra village) Ralegan Siddhi. If I was bothered by crowds, I would have held those protests in a big ground,” he said.

Hazare and his team want the Lokpal bill prepared by them to be passed by parliament in the monsoon session.

Hazare has given an ultimatum that if the government does not accept the demands by Saturday night, he will go on hunger strike along with his colleagues Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai at Jantar Mantar.

How long will his protest continue?

“I will continue to fast till I am alive to remove corruption from our system,” he replied.