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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Anna Hazare salvo at Rahul Gandhi for ‘bill dilution’

PUNE: Social activist Anna Hazare on Friday blamed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for diluting the Lokpal Bill draft, saying he "strongly suspected'' him of "interfering" in the legislation process to make it weak.

"Gandhi said he wanted the Lokpal to be a constitutional body, but he does not say there will be no government interference in its functioning. The law about Lokpal must have a provision to rule out such interference," Hazare told reporters at Ralegan Siddhi.

The activist threatened to go on an eight-day hunger strike at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan from December 27, if the bill is not passed or a weak legislation is passed during the Parliament's winter session. Hazare said he would then stage a three-day agitation each in poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and tell people that the government was cheating them. "I am aware that the government will not allow me to continue my fast beyond eight days."

The Gandhian accused the government of having "wrong intentions" about the Lokpal and going back on its promises. "The Prime Minister gave me a written assurance in August about including lower-ranking government officials in the ambit of Lokpal, having a citizen's charter and setting up a strong Lokayukta in every state on the lines of the Lokpal," he said.

"Parliament gave a letter to this effect to the standing committee. Still, the promises were not kept. Isn't this cheating?" He said the people should hold the government responsible if anything happens to him during the agitation. "Even if I die, people will say there was a mad man, who always fought for the people's causes."

Hazare reiterated his demand for the CBI and the PM's inclusion in the Lokpal purview besides the right to recall.


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