As Team Anna members debated corruption and participatory democracy in New Delhi, a man created a mini stir at the event by asking why Anna Hazare did not speak up against Raj Thackeray in his home state where the politician had targeted north Indians.
At a seminar on ‘Rebuilding the Republic’ organised by Team Anna, the man named Liladhar Bhat demanded to be heard on stage and after being offered the microphone raised the issue.
Lawyers Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, activists Vandana Siva and Gopal Rai, and psephologist Yogendra Yadav among others, were holding a panel discussion after the seminar and taking written questions from the people present there.
Bhat, who had submitted a question was disappointed about his issue not being raised at the forum and started shouting. He refused to back down after repeated requests by Yadav and the volunteers, following which he was called on stage.
“I am also against corruption and I am myself agitated by it. But the Delhi lokayukta does not take into account the evidence provided about the corrupt practices of a Nigam Parshad. How do we deal with this now,” he asked.
He then said he was a north Indian and was agitated by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s targeting of the people from this part of the country in Hazare’s home state.
“Shall Anna not give his statement on this issue,” he asked.
However, Gopal Rai reacted sharply to the question, criticising him for raising up the issue of divisions.
“In this people’s movement, we are not north Indians or south Indians, we have to be Indians and raking up divisions of caste or religion is dividing people,” he said without replying to the question directly.
Earlier, another man from the audience had interrupted the seminar demanding that he be heard first. Some among the audience also supported him but were cajoled by organisers telling him that he can put his views after the speakers give their point of view.