Anna revives Lokpal agitation, seeks strong legislation

Thousands of Anna Hazare supporters with their leader sits on one-day fast for Lokpal Bill in New Delhi on Sunday.(UNI)
Dignitaries during a function organized to release Khalid Hussain’s ‘Satisar Ka Suraj’, at K L Saigal Hall, on Sunday. -Excelsior/Rakesh.
NEW DELHI, Mar 25:
Thousands of Anna Hazare supporters with their leader sits on one-day fast for Lokpal Bill in New Delhi on Sunday.(UNI)
Reviving his Lokpal agitation with a day-long hunger strike in the national capital, Anna Hazare today launched a scathing attack on the Government saying it should either bring a strong anti-graft legislation or prepare for a defeat in 2014 elections.
“Bring Jan Lokpal or go out of power in 2014 general elections,” Hazare, who returned to hunger strike to demand justice for slain IPS officer Narendra Kumar and a strong law to protect whistleblowers after his flop show in Mumbai three months ago, said.
Accusing the Government of lacking political will to bring an effective legislation to contain corruption, he said peoples’ power will force the Centre to legislate a strong Lokpal Bill one day.
Before starting his fast, Hazare, 74, said many people have sacrificed their lives while fighting corruption and the Government has not conducted any probe despite some incidents which happened three years ago.
“Their (whistleblowers’) mothers, their children, their fathers, their wives are crying for justice. But this Government has gone dumb and deaf. It is not listening to the cries of people.
“This Government neither has any intention nor does it have any political will to bring a strong Lokpal Bill. We will not relent. We will have to keep struggling. I am confident that one day they will have to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill,” said Hazare.
Asking his supporters to keep up the pressure on the Government, he said people of the country have woken up and they will not allow corrupt politicians to “loot” the resources anymore.
“We will have to bring real democracy in the country by ensuring rights of the common people who are supreme and send their representatives to Parliament and State legislatures,” he said.
Hazare said from now onwards his supporters will work in cooperation with Baba Ramdev’s movement against blackmoney to wipe out corruption in the country.
About land acquisition, Hazare said there should a law which should make permission of gram sabha mandatory before selling land to anyone.
“There should be a law to ensure that permission is given by the gram sabha before selling land to anyone,” he said.
On protection to whistleblowers, he said, “There will be a big struggle. Then the Government will listen. The Government came up with MGNREGA but these people were killed for trying to improve it.”
His return to staging protests comes after the Congress performed poorly in the recent assembly polls.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde, who had expressed some reservations with regard to the Team recently, was present along with other members like Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia.
Earlier Hazare, after his usual visit to Rajghat before any such protest in Delhi, came to the capital’s dharna hotspot Jantar Mantar at around 11 AM to loud cheers from tricolour-wielding supporters and chants of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Family members of some of the whistleblowers who were killed while fighting corruption, including that of IPS officer Narendra Kumar, murdered allegedly by mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh, were also present.
During the Assembly elections, Team Anna had campaigned for a strong Lokpal though it had not named any single party. However, Congress leaders had claimed that the tone and tenor of their campaign was anti-Congress.
Team Anna said while the Jan Lokpal ensures security to the whistle blowers, the proposed bill on the issue floated by the UPA Government is “inadequate and gives the responsibilities without powers to CVC”.
At least 15 people, who tried to blow the lid on scams or fought the menace of corruption in other ways, have been killed since 2010, according to Team Anna.
This is the first hunger strike undertaken by Hazare after he called off his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill in Mumbai last December owing to failing health and poor response. This is the fifth time he is sitting on a fast in the past one year, of which four of them have been in Delhi.
Addressing the gathering, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal attacked some of the prominent UPA Ministers claiming that cases could have been registered against 14 Ministers if there was a Lokpal.
Kejriwal took the names of around 25 politicians, including Ministers Sharad Pawar, S M Krishna, P Chidambaram, Praful Patel, Kapil Sibal, Kamal Nath, Farooq Abdullah, Ajit Singh, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh, MK Azhagiri and G K Vasan.
“If Lokpal Bill comes into force, FIRs will be lodged against 14 Ministers of the Union Government,” he said.
“Who will punsih people like them? Delhi Police or the CBI? No one knows because these people will never pass Lokpal Bill,” Kejriwal said. (PTI)