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    Posted on 19 October 2012
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    POLITICS

    Kejriwal is a megalomaniac with scant regard for democracy: Digvijaya

    The Congress general secretary shoots off an angry letter to Kejriwal terming him ‘self-serving’ and ‘ambitious’

    Ashaar Khan
    New Delhi


    Another missive was added to the war of words between newly minted politician Arvind Kejriwal and his veteran colleagues in the national political arena. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has written to Kejriwal on Friday 19 October calling the latter a “self-serving ambitious megalomaniac with scant regard for democracy.”

    Singh also goes on to describe the personal interaction, which took place between them from the days of Right to Information (RTI) campaign, in which the Congress President Sonia Gandhi had taken a keen interest and had got it passed in Parliament amidst opposition.

    According to Singh, Kejriwal had once been an admirer of Sonia Gandhi as she was a staunch supporter of the RTI. He writes that Kejriwal had, “We met again when you, along with Swami Agnivesh, approached me with a request to invite Congress president for a conference on RTI. You were all praises for Mrs. Sonia Gandhi whose political will ensured RTI Act that became a reality in India. I am aware how fiercely the establishment opposed the act, but she stood her ground and had it passed in Parliament."

    What forms the core of the letter is that Kejriwal’s “personal ambitions” are making him “loose direction and balance”. The letter also states that Kejriwal has not been able to get along with any of his fellow activists. He has parted ways with them after his need is satisfied. These include Aruna Roy, Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare.

    Reacting to the letter Congress Spokesperson PC Chako said, "Digvijaya Singh is a senior leader of the party and he is the right person to answer your questions." In the past, Singh has been known to take an aggressive form of attack compared to the Congress. Often the Congress does not endorse his views. But in matters relating to Kejriwal there is covert understanding within the party.

    The Congress-led UPA government has been coming under attack from Kejriwal for almost two years now. Earlier it was in the form of Team Anna, and now it has turned into a yet to be named political party. Kejriwal has been actively campaigning against the Congress in by-elections and assembly elections in various states across the country, holding the Congress responsible for holding back the Lokpal Bill.

    Allegations were also made against 15 sitting ministers of the Union Cabinet. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also not spared. Recently allegations have also been brought against Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi.

    According to Shazia Ilmi, a core member of India Against Corruption and a close aide of Kejriwal, there is nothing new in the points that Singh makes in the letter. Speaking to TEHELKA, Ilmi has countered Singh’s allegations by asking if Singh knew many things about Kejriwal’s ‘ambition’ to join the NAC, why has he not raked it up till now? Reacting to Singh’s charge that Kejriwal was trying to “upstage the NAC”, Ilmi said that the Congress-led UPA government was yet to take NAC seriously. “What has been done about NAC recommendations on AFSPA, Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill?” she asked.

    Singh, who has always questioned Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, even raising questions on the association of Team Anna with the RSS, is now planning to send a questionnaire to Kejriwal. The letter states that “Kejriwal needs to answer some uncomfortable questions” which Singh would raising on Saturday.

    Full text of Digvijaya Singh's letter to Arvind Kejriwal

    19th October, 2012

    Dear Shri Arvind, We first met during a seminar at Berkeley University in San Francisco and I was quite impressed by your commitment to the cause of RTI. You had worked quite closely with Ms. Aruna Roy, who was instrumental in fighting for the cause of RTI in India.

    Though we lost touch, but I did follow what you had been doing. We met again when you, along with Swami Agnivesh, approached me with a request to invite Congress President for a Conference on RTI. You were all praise for Mrs. Sonia Gandhi whose political will ensured RTI Act that became a reality in India. I am aware that how fiercely the Establishment opposed this Act, but she stood her ground and had it passed in the Parliament.

    Then, you wanted to meet her and had requested me to propose your name for inclusion in the NAC. I did propose your name, but failed. She took Aruna Roy, who was your Guru. A strong Lokpal was the next main item on the Agenda of Congress President. She had publicly declared her intent at the AICC Session at Burari in December 2010. She entrusted this task to NAC members Aruna Roy and Harsh Mandar and directed them to draft a strong Lokpal Bill. I feel this was the time when you made up your mind to upstage NAC by bringing in Anna Hazare and force the Government to engage you in drafting the Lokpal Bill. Your draft, if accepted in totality, would have made the Jan Lokpal as the most Powerful Man in our successful and functional Democracy, without being accountable to any one.

    You could have waited for the draft being prepared by your Guru Aruna Roy and then suggested amendments, which could have been discussed by all political parties to enable an acceptable draft to emerge and get adopted.

    You are aware of the fractured structure of the Parliament and do realize that any legislation in this Parliament can be passed with a consensus only. But you forced Anna to take the route of "my way or the highway", and tried to steamroll the political process to meet only your own whims. When YP Singh (Retd IPS), your former colleague in civil society movement, called you a Hitler, I could see the streak in you.

    My opinion about you of a well meaning crusader of public issues has now changed to a "self serving ambitious megalomaniac with scant regard for democracy”.

    You couldn't get along with Aruna Roy, who was your Guru in RTI movement. Then you parted ways with Kiran Bedi and now, also with Anna, whom you used as a front to give your ambitions a touch of respectability.

    I am very happy you have chosen to form a political party and have decided to fight elections. Ina Democracy, this is the only way to deliver in Public Life. I have been in politics for more than 40 years, starting as a President of my small Municipality to becoming Chief Minister of then the largest State in India.

    I have held positions where I could have made Billions, but have practiced Probity in my public life and therefore placed my list of assets and the assets of my Ministers every year on the table of the House in my tenure as Chief Minister of MP. Incidentally, the BJP Government, who succeeded me, discontinued this practice.

    I have hauled all those who have made charges of corruption against me to the Court and they haven't been able to substantiate any charge against me in the Court.

    Recently, I saw your interview in Economic Times about what would you like to do if you ever came to power. You listed following priorities - Decentralisation, Empowerment of the People, Gram Swarajya and Right to Recall.

    Please ask your Gurus of Civil Society Anna Hazare, SC Behar and Dr. BD Sharma if I didn't do all that as Chief Minister of MP.

    In fact, while doing all this, I was only following the core policy of Congress Party since the days of Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, you yourself had mentioned in your ET interview about the contribution of Sh. Rajeev Gandhi in strengthening and empowering the people of India through Panchayati Raj. Needless to mention that Universal Franchise, Freedom of Speech, Free Media, Secularism, Equality of all castes & creeds, Abolition of Untouchability, Panchayati Raj, Reservation to Women in Local Bodies, Right to Information Act have all been the ideas promoted and implemented by the Congress Party.

    Therefore, my only advise to you as a senior politician is to "first practice, then preach".

    Lately, I have been seeing you asking questions to people against whom you are making allegations. Therefore, I also have certain questions to ask to you. Would you answer them or dismiss them all in the manner my uncomfortable questions to Sangh, Anna and Ramdev have been dismissed? I would be sending the questions to you tomorrow.

    Digvijaya Singh


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    Posted on 19 October 2012
 
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