New Delhi: There was high drama at the press conference held by anti-corruption crusader-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday as former IAC activists and key supporters of Anna Hazare questioned Kejriwal over his team members and their dealings.
Annie Kohli, a supporter of Anna Hazare, confronted Kejriwal in full view of TV cameras and asked him several discomforting questions. "Are you a politician or an activist? What are you doing about the land dealings of your associate Mayank Gandhi in Mumbai?" Kohli was heard asking.
"You speak with lots of affection but you are doing politics. You are using this as a ladder for your politics. Revolutionaries never ran away from sufferings. But for you, when the time came, you ran away," Kohli alleged. "You were on protest with disabled people on Salman Khurshid case. First you said, you will sit there till you get result. But after four days, you left the place saying now you will go to Farukkhabad. You have support in Delhi. You want to become a leader," she said.
When Kejriwal intervened saying she can sit in Delhi when he goes to Farukkhabad, she said she is from Mumbai. Kohli also distributed a pamphlet in which she raised a question what his ideology was. "The independence struggle has two streams of protests. One the revolutionary path of Bhagat Singh and another that of Mahatma Gandhi. Which one do you follow? Once you answer this, I will raise another nine questions," she said in the pamphlet.
A youth, who accompanied Kohli, alleged Kejriwal's intentions were not right and that he is a friend of Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit. Kohli alleged that she had tried to meet Kejriwal at airport recently but his associates prevented her from meeting him and pushed her. She also levelled allegations against another IAC activist Mayank Gandhi. Speaking to reporters later on, she said that they planned to hold a protest against Kejriwal at Jantar Mantar soon.
When asked about Kohli, Kejriwal said, "I don't know her. No questions have been raised by her. What kind of questions she is raising? Every agitation has its own strategy."
Meanwhile, during the press conference, Kejriwal took on Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda over the land dealings between realty giant DLF and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra. Attacking the state government over the transfer of senior bureaucrat Ashok Khemka just days after he ordered a probe into the land dealings of Vadra, Kejriwal said that the Haryana government was in collusion with the Gandhi family and had bent rules and regulations to grant favours to it.
"The Haryana Chief Minister (Bhupinder Singh Hooda) colluded with the Gandhi family and granted land to it. The Haryana government tried to save the son-in-law of the Gandhi family. Khemka was pressurised into silence. And when the youth from Haryana decided to speak to the CM, they were brutally beaten up," said Kejriwal. IAC member, Haryana, Naveen Jindal said that farmers' lands were taken away by the state government to fulfill the desires of others.
Several members of the IAC on Sunday protested and clashed with the police outside Hooda's residence in the capital. The protest was organised over Kejriwal's allegations against Vadra and his alleged illegalities with the collusion of the Haryana government and DLF.
At least seven protesters sustained injuries and were taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi but Kejriwal tried to forcibly take the injured away to his office in Kaushambi leading to another war of words with the police. At the press conference, Kejriwal paraded some of them, including Jindal, who displayed his bruises.
Kejriwal accused the police of manhandling the protesters. "We decided to protest against the Haryana government and the police manhandled us. They lathicharged us. All we wanted to do was talk about the land deals," said Jindal. Jindal, however, added that the police brutality had further strengthened the IAC's resolve to take their protests to the next level.
(With additional information from PTI)