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Hazare to back Mamata as prime ministerial candidate

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2014 Published on February 19, 2014

Thumbs-up for Didi Social activist Anna Hazare with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. - V SUDERSHAN

Will also campaign for ‘clean’ TMC candidates

Dumping his protégé, Arvind Kejriwal, veteran anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare on Wednesday announced his support for Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee as prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

“I am supporting Didi (Banerjee) because she leads a simple life despite being a Chief Minister. She could have led a lavish lifestyle, but she stays in a small room. Also, she has agreed to adopt the 17 points that I had sent to all political parties to change the future of the country,” Hazare said at a joint press conference here with the West Bengal CM. He said “even 100 seats under her (Banerjee) leadership can help change the system in the country to some extent.”

Hazare, who had earlier declared he would never campaign for a political party, said he is now supporting an “honest person” and not a party, adding that he will also campaign for ‘clean’ TMC candidates.

17 points

When asked why not Kejriwal, the 72-year-old social activist, who has written the foreword to the AAP leader’s book Swaraj, said: “Arvind did not reply to my 17 points, so I will neither support nor oppose him.”

About four months ago, Hazare said he had circulated letters to all political parties asking them to support his 17 points, including the immediate setting up Lokpal and Lokayuktas, legislative powers to villages, judicious use of natural resources, declaring black money in foreign banks as national assets, among others.

Incidentally, West Bengal does not have a Lokayukta.

When asked, Banerjee said: “After the Lokpal Bill comes into force, we will see the guidelines and within a year, we will set it up.”

She said apart form Bengal. Tripura, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, TMC will field candidates in Delhi and certain seats in the South.

A TMC source said the party will contest all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana.

Published on February 19, 2014
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