Anna backs Lokpal Bill,tells those unhappy to agitate without his help

Anna was satisfied with 'new' and 'strengthened' Bill after it was amended by the Select Committee.

Written by Atikh Rashid | Ralegan Siddhi | Published: December 15, 2013 3:45:37 am

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Saturday said he was “satisfied” with the amended Lokpal Bill that was presented in the Rajya Sabha and will break the 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 said he was satisfied with “new” and “strengthened” Bill after it was amended by the Select Committee before it was tabled in Rajya Sabha.

He said the government has constituted three separate bills,Whistleblower Protection Bill,Citizen Charter Bill and Judiciary Bill,and if they are also passed it will stop corruption to a great extent. 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 will not have his support.

“I have been shown the Lokpal Bill draft which has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha by the government. I have been informed of the 16 key points in the Bill. I am happy and satisfied that as per this Bill the Lokpal will have control over the CBI except that it wouldn’t appoint it’s director. This is acceptable. Also,the formulation of the Lokpal ,four retired High Court Chief Justices and four other experts,will give it strength and authority. It has been mandatory for Lokpal to finish each probe within a year. Also,government employees from Class I to Class IV have been brought under the purview of Lokpal,” he said.

“On Monday if this Bill is passed in both the houses and then signed by President,I will break my fast,” he said. He also exhorted the Samjwadi Party to stop opposing the Bill. When asked if he had softened his stance on the Bill so that he gets the full credit,he said he agreed to support the Bill only after he was convinced of its effectiveness. “(Retired) Justice Santosh Hegde told me that 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 brought Right to Information Act in 2005 and is now trying to bring Lokpal. “I had to fight for eight years for RTI Act in Maharashtra and then on 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.

No celebration in Ralegan

Anna said though the Bill now seems to be at the threshold of passage,there will be no celebration in his village. “We need to continue the fight for enacting Right to Reject,Right to Recall,Citizen Charter and rights to Gram Sabha,” he said.

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