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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Rahul diluting Lokpal bill draft, says Anna Hazare

PUNE: Social crusader Anna Hazare  on Friday accused Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi  of diluting the Lokpal bill draft.

He also said he would start an eightday fast at Ramlila maidan from December 27 if the Lokpal bill was not passed in the winter session of Parliament or if a weak Lokpal bill was passed.

Addressing a news conference at his native village Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare said he strongly suspected Rahul Gandhi of "interfering" in the making of the Lokpal draft so that it became weak.

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

Hazare said that after his fast gets over, he would tour Uttar Pradesh , Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, which face assembly elections next year.

"I will stage a three-day agitation in each state and tell the people that the government is cheating them. I am aware that the government will not allow me to continue my fast beyond eight days," he said.

The Gandhian reiterated that the government's intention about Lokpal was "not right".

"The Prime Minister gave me a written assurance in August about including lower-ranking government officials within the ambit of Lokpal, having a citizen's charter and setting up a strong Lokayukta in every state on the lines of the Lokpal. Parliament gave a letter to this effect to the standing committee. Still, the promises were not kept. Isn't this cheating?" he asked.

Referring to a statement made by a politician in Delhi that the government will not dance to Hazare's tune, he said, "If anything happens to me during my agitation, the people should hold the government responsible. Even if I die, people will say there was a 'mad man' who always fought for people's causes."

Hazare also reiterated that he wanted the CBI and the Prime Minister within the purview of the Lokpal and also pressed for the right to recall. "The chief election commission had said 10 years ago that there should be a right to recall. I am not raising any new issue", he said.


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