Anna ‘satisfied’ with Lokpal Bill,will break fast if passed

He said though the Bill differs from the original Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by Team Anna in April 2011,he was satisfied with the 'new'.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Ralegan Siddhi | Published: December 15, 2013 12:08 am

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said on Saturday he was “satisfied” with the amended Lokpal Bill presented in Rajya Sabha and will break his fast if the Bill is passed in both Houses of Parliament.

He said though the Bill differs from the original Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by Team Anna in April 2011,he was satisfied with the “new” and “strengthened” Bill after amendments by the Select Committee.

The government has constituted three separate Bills — Whistleblower Protection Bill,Citizen Charter Bill and Judiciary Bill — and if they are also passed,it will help stop corruption to a great extent,he added.

Launching a veiled attack on Aam Aadmi Party,which had termed the present Bill as “Jokepal”,Anna said those who are unhappy should launch a fresh agitation,which won’t have his support.

“I have been shown the Lokpal Bill draft and informed of the 16 key points. I am satisfied that as per this Bill,the Lokpal will have control over the CBI except that it would not appoint it’s director. This is acceptable. Also,the composition of the Lokpal — four retired High Court Chief Justices and four other experts — will give it strength and authority. Government employees from Class I to Class IV have been brought under the purview of Lokpal. I believe that all this will give justice to poor and empower them,” he said.

“On Monday if this Bill is passed in both Houses and then signed by President,I will break my fast,” he said.

He also exhorted the Samajwadi Party to stop opposing the Bill. “I request Samajwadi Party with folded hands to support the Bill because the Lokpal will strive to bring real samajwad by helping poor.” Anna also wrote a letter to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

When asked if he had softened his stance to get full credit,he said he had agreed to support the Bill only after he was convinced of its effectiveness. “Justice (retired) Santosh Hegde told me the present Bill was good enough and I should not oppose it. He said there was scope for improvement,for which we can fight later,” said Anna.

He rubbished Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s claim that his party had brought in the Right to Information Act in 2005 and is now trying to bring the Lokpal Bill.

“I had to fight for eight years for RTI Act in Maharashtra and then at the national level. Rahul seems to be oblivious to this. I have written a book on the fight for RTI Act. I will send him the book,” Anna said.

Anna’s associate Kiran Bedi said those who called the present Bill “Jokepal” did not even care to read it. “We read the draft tabled in Rajya Sabha and then realised that the Bill is effective. That’s why Anna is supporting it,” she said.

Will go to any extent to block Bill: SP

New Delhi: The Samajwadi Party was unfazed Saturday by Rahul Gandhi’s appeal for passage of Lokpal Bill,warning it could go to “any extent” in Parliament to block the anti-corruption legislation. Party leader Naresh Agarwal advised Congress not to seek passage of any important Bill after “losing the mandate of the people” in recent Assembly elections in four states. “Congress has lost the mandate of the people and should refrain from seeking passage of any major legislation. We will continue to oppose the Lokpal Bill. We will go to any extent to oppose it,” Agarwal said. SP opposed the Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Friday,leading to adjournment of proceedings for the day. PTI

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