New Delhi: In a reverential gesture, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday invited activist Anna Hazare to the Government Secretariat on Wednesday and asked him to interact with legislators, ministers and officials through a motivational talk.
The AAP leader extended the invitation while sharing a stage with the Gandhian on Parliament Street during a protest against the land acquisition ordinance, evoking memories of the duo’s camaraderie during the anti-graft movement of 2011.
“Tomorrow, if Annaji comes to Delhi Secretariat, his presence only will purify the place. I want him to come there and interact, at least for 10 minutes, with different members and officials of the government. It will guide us all,” Kejriwal said.
Wearing a grey shirt and blue v-necked sweater and minus his trademark muffler, Kejriwal initially was standing among the crowd in the front of the stage but was later hoisted by Anna supporters on to the stage, drawing a loud cheer from the crowd. The AAP leader sat right next to the 77-year-old Gandhian and was seen interacting with people on the stage.
Occasionally, he waved at the crowd as well. Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, who was among the AAP legislators present at the protest site, said the idea was to “connect bureaucracy with an veteran activist’s vision of India”.
“We want him there, because his presence will connect bureaucrats, legislators and ministers and other members and functionaries to the Gandhian’s thoughts, which so far has been missing,” she said. Sporting the AAP cap, Lamba, who upstaged sitting Congress MLA Prahlad Singh Sahni in the polls, when asked if Hazare had accepted the government’s invite, said, “We have invited Annaji to the Assembly tomorrow. It is up to him to respond to it. But, his presence at the Secretariat will definitely benefit all.”
Senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav also joined the Gandhian briefly on stage. Kejriwal and Hazare, the two most prominent faces of the Lokpal movement had fallen apart after Kejriwal decided to launch a political party in October 2012.
On Monday, Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Hazare’s trusted lieutenants during the Lokpal movement, had met the activist at the Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi and extended support to the agitation led by him. This agitation did in a way served as a point of reunion for the young leader and the veteran activist.