RALEGAN SIDDHI/NEW DELHI: Putting the government on notice on the Lokpal issue, the social activist, Mr Anna Hazare Tuesday threatened to go on an indefinite fast in Delhi from December 27 while terming that the draft report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee as a “betrayal” of countrymen.
Mr Hazare said he did not want the government to “make a fool of us” on the issue. Mr Hazare also announced that he will sit on a one-day fast at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on December 11.
In a bid to pressurise Congress, the activist also sought to corner the ruling party saying he will tour the five poll-bound states and tell electorate how the government was betraying them on the Lokpal Bill.
The 74-year-old activist said his indefinite fast will be at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi from December 27 if a strong bill was not passed during the winter session of the Parliament. If it happens, it will be his third indefinite fast this year on the Lokpal issue.
“The government has assured us that there will be a strong Lokpal Bill. We were given an assurance by the Parliament. Now the Standing Committee report is out. When I saw the report, I realised that they have betrayed the countrymen again. Government has committed deceit,” he said.
“What is strong about this Lokpal Bill? How is it powerful?” he told reporters here. Mr Hazare also sought to attack the Prime Minister saying that despite Dr Manmohan Singh giving it in writing, the Standing Committee did not adhere to the assurances of the Parliament.
Mr Hazare wondered why NGOs and media were brought under the ambit of Lokpal. “On one hand, you are including media and NGOs but on the other hand, you do not want the Prime Minister and MPs. This is not fair,” he said.
Prominent Team Anna members, Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Ms Kiran Bedi also joined the chorus against the draft report, questioning the exclusion of judiciary from the ambit of the ombudsman while opposing inclusion of NGOs and media in it. “Why is the Prime Minister afraid of submitting himself to the Lokpal? If you are clean, then there is no need to be scared,” he said.
Mr Hazare noted that Parliament has passed a resolution saying that lower bureaucracy will be included under the ambit of Lokpal besides providing for Citizen’s Charter and setting up Lokayuktas in states. He took exception to the exclusion of lower bureaucracy, judiciary and CBI under the ambit of Lokpal.
On the issue of lower bureaucracy, Mr Hazare said if they are not included in the law, poor people will suffer. “We were demanding that every section, from top to bottom, be brought under Lokpal. Poor people cannot get their work done without paying bribe,” he said. He said it was very necessary that the anti-corruption wing of CBI be under Lokpal to ensure that there is no interference from the government in its functioning.