Anna Hazare does U-turn on support to Mamata Banerjee, says 'don't use my name any more'

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 15 2014, 00:06am hrs
Anna hazareAnna Hazare's absence at the rally had left Mamata Banerjee embarrassed. (PTI)
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's national ambitions today suffered a setback with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare ruling out support to her in the Lok Sabha elections, making a U-turn on the issue.

Anna Hazare, who caused a huge embarrassment for Banerjee two days ago by skipping a 'joint' rally here, said "some people who deceive" had got associated with her which made it difficult for him to support her.

He was responding when reporters asked him whether he would support Banerjee for the Prime Ministership even after the rally fiasco, which he blamed on misleading information.

"No. Now, some such people, who deceive me, have got associated with Mamata Banerjee which makes it difficult for me to support her," the social activist asserted.

He said he had told Banerjee to stop using his name in Trinamool's advertisement campaign for the polls.

This marks a U-turn as he has been endorsing Banerjee for Prime Ministership.

On February 19, he declared his support to Banerjee as she agreed to implement his 17-point agenda. He said he supported Banerjee not as a party, but as an individual he admired and that he also backed her views on society and country.

Even earlier today also, he said, "I have respect for Mamata. Of all the Chief Ministers in the country, she is the best. Her sacrifice, her character, her ideology."

He ruled out support to Trinamool Congress, saying his stated position is that he does not support any party.

Anna Hazare and Banerjee also publicly differed on organising of the rally which was a flop show.

Breaking his silence on his absence at the much-hyped 'joint' rally at Ramlila ground on Wednesday, Hazare said he had skipped it because even 4000 people had not come to attend it and he had been misled.

Banerjee said it was Anna Hazare's rally and she had been invited to attend, which she did.

Earlier, Hazare's aides had claimed that he could not attend the rally because he was "unwell".

"When I came to Delhi... I found out by 12 noon that there were only 2,000 to 2,500 people in the rally. Then I checked at 1 pm and then 2 pm. I thought that something is amiss. It is the same Ramlila ground which teemed with people for 12 days (during his agitations earlier) but this time, there were not even 4000 people.

"I was then called (to the venue). This was the mistake. This was the dhokhadhadi(deceit)," he said today, explaining why he did not attend the rally for which he had specifically come from Maharashtra a night earlier.

Naming one of the organisers for misleading, Anna Hazare said he was told that it was Banerjee's rally while the Trinamool chief was told that she was attending Hazare's rally.

"She was misinformed and I was misinformed," he added.

Banerjee, on the other hand, maintained that it was Hazare's rally for which she had been invited to attend.

He said it was a social rally as Hazare is not a political person.

She was unfazed by the low attendance, saying she had the courage of addressing public meetings of just a few people.

Anna Hazare's absence at the rally had left Mamata Banerjee embarrassed as the event to mark her arrival on the national scene had turned out to be a damp squib.

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