New Delhi: After falling out with activist Anna Hazare, his “blogger” Raju Parulekar, a Mumbai-based mediaperson, publicized a letter in which Hazare had expressed the wish of making changes in the core group driving his anti-corruption movement. In an interview, Parulekar spoke about the allegations he has voiced about financial mismanagement of Hazare’s movement and other issues. Edited excerpts:
What is the basis of your allegations of mismanagement of funds collected for the anti-corruption movement? The agitation happened in August; why did you remain silent for so long?
Anna told me that Manish Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal are going to give all the records. Even today, Anna is not happy with what they (Sisodia and Kejriwal) have shown, given and tabled because there is no proof of (the magnitude of) cash inflow... They have also not properly mentioned the expenditure. In a meeting on 30 October—I was also present there—Anna fought for the details. Kejriwal somehow managed to convince him.
Speaking out: Raju Parulekar
The Congress party, especially its general secretary Digvijay Singh, has often said Hazare is a respected activist but influenced by the wrong people. You are exactly saying the same thing. What do you have to say to allegations that the Congress is backing you?
Great men think alike. But jokes apart, this is a coincidence. I am fighting for this alone, but if this is going with the Congress’ official line, I do not worry about that and I do not agree that I have something (going on) with (the) Congress.
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Raju Parulekar speaks about the financial controversies surrounding Hazare’s team
What is your motive? What are you trying to prove?
With these people (who are in the core group), you are not going ahead in a positive way. That is what my problem is and I want to prove that. One day, very soon, Anna will—and he has to as a leader—come out and say, “I am completely disbanding this committee”. He will ultimately disown it and give a call to form a pan-India organization.
You claim you are very close to Hazare, did you ever try to tell this to him and what was his response?
Yes. He said that let it (the Jan Lokpal Bill) get through and then we will speak on this matter.
Hazare hasn’t been able to keep his team together. Isn’t he a good leader?
Hazare is a good leader but...he wants to keep everybody happy. For a leader, it is not possible to keep everybody happy.
Appu Esthose Suresh contributed to the interview.