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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Anna Hazare begins his day-long fast at Jantar Mantar

Anna Hazare on Sunday began his day-long token fast at Jantar Mantar in protest against "watered-down" proposals of the parliamentary panel on Lokpal Bill after paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

He drove to Rajghat from Maharashtra Sadan at around 9am and spend sometime meditating at Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.

Clad in his trademark white kurta and Gandhi cap, he was accompanied by his close aides Manish Sisodia, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi.

A large media contingent besides some other supporters of Team Anna were at Rajghat when Hazare reached there. A large number of police personnel was also deployed at Rajghat.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an all-party meeting on Wednesday, which will be preceded by one of the UPA allies on Tuesday.

The tone for a hectic lokpal-led week was set by Hazare, who trained his guns at Congress’ Rahul Gandhi at a packed press conference, blaming him for “weakening” the draft lokpal bill.
“Who is bigger than the prime minister?... We suspect Rahul Gandhi could be behind this,” he said.

Law minister Salman Khurshid reacted by saying Rahul had instead asked for a strong lokpal bill.

When asked about Sonia Gandhi, Hazare said she was unwell, but added that “illness might increase” if he said more — though he did call her the “leader of the country”.

Attacking the government and the parliamentary panel that examined the draft bill, he said, “They’ve cheated the whole country. The prime minister gave in writing that the lower bureaucracy and citizen’s charter would be brought under the lokpal bill... His letter was thrown into the dustbin.”

Apart from the day-long fast to protest what it calls a toothless lokpal bil, Team Anna has also planned a public debate, in which most major political parties have confirmed participation.

“The Congress however, has declined our invitation,” Hazare said.

Team Anna made it clear they won’t compromise on their demands to make the CBI autonomous, bring the entire bureaucracy under lokpal and make the citizen’s charter a part of the proposed mechanism.


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