Kejriwal seeks blessings of Mahatma Gandhi before launching political party

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 09:10 hrs

Anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal on Monday sought the blessing of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial Rajghat, before making formal announcement about the launch of his political party.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and of the father of the Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Kejriwal said that his visit should not be seen as a part of any ploy as he had simply gone to seek their blessings.

"I am surprised as to why people are asking such questions. Why are you seeing it as only a tactic or formula if I go and pay obeisance to Gandhi or Ambedkar ji? Gandhi ji, Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, Jawahar Lal Nehru fought for the freedom of India. The India they dreamt of back then is totally opposite of what it is today. Today the common people of this country are sick and tired of the politics being played for the last 65 years and have formed their own party. So by paying our respects to these great souls we are asking them to give us strength and intellect to help us succeed in our mission," said Kejriwal.

The party would be formally launched later in the day at Jantar Mantar.

Kejriwal and others plan to submit their paperwork, including a videotape of Saturday's meeting, 300 affidavits, and other formalities within the next week to the Election Commission for registration of the party's name.

Kejriwal has fought a decade-long campaign to bring more transparency to government, but it was in 2010 that he began to pursue corruption more vigorously.

He was one of the architects of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement led by veteran social activist Anna Hazare, 75, whose public hunger strike against graft last year led to an outpouring of support from millions of middle-class Indians disgusted by the venality of the ruling class.

Earlier, Hazare had parted ways with Kejriwal over his plans to enter the mainstream of politics to tackle the existing system and even contest in the elections under the banner of a party.

Hazare had earlier announced a new team of associates to carry on his anti graft movement and had also added to this that his team would retain IAC as Kejriwal was the one who left the group.

Anti-corruption activists have in the past pressed for stricter rules to tackle corruption but have refrained from naming and shaming. Even rival political parties have tended to shy away from personal attacks.

A series of high profile scandals-including the coal scam, the sale of lucrative mobile phone licences that cost the state possibly $39 billion in lost revenues and disastrous mismanagement of the Commonwealth Games-appear to be a key tipping point.

Corruption has been worsening in India over the years. Transparency International's corruption index in 2010 ranked India 87th, level with Albania and below China in 78th place. (ANI)

More from Sify: