Target Rahul on eve of fresh fast
– Activist hits out at Lokpal panel report
New Delhi, Dec.10: Social activist Anna Hazare mocked at Sonia Gandhi’s health and attacked Rahul Gandhi ahead of his day-long fast in Delhi tomorrow against the parliamentary standing committee’s report on the Lokpal bill.
Hazare held Rahul responsible for the “useless” version of the bill presented by the standing committee and said the country would be endangered if the Gandhi scion became Prime Minister with his “present mindset”.
Asked why he was not blaming Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the 74-year-old professed concern for her health but in words that sounded far from sympathetic.
“Woh bimar hai. Bimari aur badh jaayegi (She is ill. Her illness will increase further),” Hazare quipped, as his team members laughed, when asked why he was only blaming Rahul and sparing Sonia.
On his arrival here for the fast at Jantar Mantar, Hazare launched a scathing attack on the government and threatened a countrywide protest as well as another indefinite fast from December 27 if Parliament failed to pass a strong Lokpal bill.
The focus of his attack, however, was Rahul. Hazare accused standing committee chairperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi of trashing the Prime Minister’s written commitment to him on bringing the lower bureaucracy and the citizens’ charter under Lokpal and alleged this was at Rahul’s behest.
“Is Singhvi above the Prime Minister? We suspect Rahul Gandhi is behind it. Who else can oppose the PM?” he said, adding: “Ye sarkar hai ya baniye ki dukan(Is this a government or a shop)?”
In August, Parliament had “in principle” admitted a resolution accepting Hazare’s conditions for consideration by the standing committee. Following this, the Prime Minister sent a letter to Hazare requesting him to break his fast, which he did.
The standing committee, an independent body, decided not to include the conditions in the bill.
Hazare, who was speaking at a news conference to build the tempo for his fast tomorrow, said the standing committee’s report was a mockery of democracy “Out of 30 members, only 11 have supported the report. Is this democracy?” he said, referring to the 17 dissents recorded on various points in the report.
The activist said he would launch an indefinite fast from December 27 and campaign against the Congress in five states scheduled to go to the polls and during the Lok Sabha elections.
Asked about Rahul being a youth leader who could become the Prime Minister he said: “I acknowledge he is a youth leader…But if he becomes the Prime Minister with his present mindset then it will lead to another danger before the country”.
Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal too targeted Rahul, alleging the standing committee report shows it was engaged with the single purpose of fulfilling what he had asked for. “Rahul Gandhi had talked of constitutional status for Lokpal and the standing committee has done nothing apart from endorsing it.”
Anna Hazare to fast in Delhi today, says second fight for independence has started
PTI | Ralegaon Siddhi, December 11, 2011 | 08:31
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare will hold a day-long fast in New Delhi on Sunday .
Keenly observed by government and people, the activist will sit at Jantar Mantar, the protest hotspot in the national capital, the whole day along with his supporters demanding a strong anti-corruption law. This will be Hazare’s second protest at Jantar Mantar on the issue, the first being the hugely successful five-day fast from April 5 which forced the government to set up a joint committee of government and activists to draft Lokpal Bill .
Team Anna and police expect a large turn out at the venue and adequate police personnel are being deployed at the spot.
Some of Hazare’s detractors are also planning to stage protest at the same site and raise questions to him but have not received the permission for any demonstration.
Hazare has raised the decibel on the issue, bringing Rahul Gandhi under the line of fire and repeating that it was the Congress scion who was behind the watered-down proposals of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal.
He has also warned the government that if a strong Lokpal Bill is not passed in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, he will sit on an indefinite fast from December 27 at Ramlila Maidan and campaign against it in the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
“So many martyrs lost their lives for our independence but even today we cannot experience independence. Who got independent. What independence. Corruption, loot is still here. Only ‘goras’ left and ‘kalas’ came in, that is the only difference,” Anna said.
“So the second fight for independence has started, it is a long fight, till corruption gets eradicated, it will go on. Many people will have to got to jail again, be lathicharged, some will have to sacrifice, that time is here now. Till we sacrifice, we won’t get the right independence,” Hazare added.
Hitting out at the government, Hazare said, “This government is intoxicated by power and money. It cannot see anything else. They have forgotten the sacrifices by the likes of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Like a drunk man becomes unconscious, similarly the government is unconscious.
“It is our job to get them into their senses. This in only a day-long agitation, after December 27, it will be a long agitation. Today that you all are here, I am energised,” he said.
The 74-year-old activist, who had gone on his second fast in Ramlila Maidan in August for the same issue, has been demanding inclusion of lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal besides provisions for Citizen’s Charter and setting up Lokayuktas under a central law.
However, the government as well as Standing Committee has rejected his demands though Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal has asked him to wait till Parliament passes the bill to launch any agitation.
Hazare has accused the Standing Committee on Lokpal of fooling people on the issue while his supporters questioned its credibility claiming that only 12 of the 30 MPs supported its proposals and that its proposals will not help in fighting graft.
“The issues remain the same. This means the Standing Committee has fooled the public. Their report does not help in fighting corruption,” Hazare said.
He has also questioned the Standing Committee proposal to bring lower bureaucracy under the ambit of state Lokayuktas saying it was against the resolution passed by Parliament.
However, Hazare appeared to have relented on the issue of inclusion of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal, saying one has to accept what Parliament decides on the issue.
His close aide Arvind Kejriwal has said, “Standing Committee had 30 members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report is supported by balance 12. Seven are from Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati’s BSP. So much for credibility of this report.”
No one listens to PM Manmohan Singh: Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare today launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging that he was not able to take any decisions and no one listened to him.
“Prime Minister wrote a letter to me saying he is ready to give powers to village panchayats but will he able to do that. He has to keep silent or his ears will be cut.
“He is the prime minister but three-four other people too think they are prime ministers. He is not able to take decisions and no one listens to him,” Hazare said addressing his supporters during his one-day fast for a strong Lokpal.
Hazare alleged that the prime minister does not take decision on 150 MPs who have criminal records.
“Then how will the country progress? He has become the prime minister but who will take decision. He does not take decisions…That is why we want the Right to Recall act. We want the right to reject candidates and recall them if they do not perform,” he said.
The Gandhian said he wrote to the prime minister saying that the provision that allows non-auditing of donation less than Rs20,000 should be withdrawn.
He said he was in favour of auditing of even one rupee donation. “Bring a law in this regard,” he said.
He said people should be ready to go to jail. “There should be no place in any jail in the country,” he said adding, “Why are you reluctant, you get breakfast and two square meal in jail?”
Calling upon youth to join the struggle, he said, “There are unemployed youth who are roaming in the country… Go to jail for bringing in a new law.”
Hazare also said attempts were made to break his team but no efforts would succeed in creating rift in his team.