Anti-graft activist Anna Hazare on Thursday rejected the amended Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet as a “farce” and announced that he would launch another agitation if the Government went ahead with the enactment of a “weak” legislation.
The 75-year-old activist also questioned the UPA Government’s commitment to root out corruption in the country, saying he does not “trust” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to bring a stringent Bill for creating an anti-corruption ombudsman.
“Both PM and Sonia Gandhi can no more be trusted to bring a stringent Lokpal Bill to root out corruption ... Had they been committed to the issue, it would not have taken two years to take a concrete decision in this regard,” Mr. Hazare told reporters here.
Mr. Hazare, while describing the Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet as “a farce,” said he had written a letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi in reply to her letter to him seeking clarification whether the proposed bill wouldl be a stringent one and whether the CBI and the CVC would be kept out of the Government’s control.
But she has not responded to these clarifications, he said and rejected the proposed Bill. “The Centre is trying to befool the people by going ahead with it.”
He said that if the Government went ahead with the enactment of a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill, he would launch another agitation. The activist went on a 12-day fast at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi in August 2011 to press for the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Mr. Hazare, who had launched an apolitical outfit ‘Janatantra Morcha’ in Patna on Wednesday to work for a change of system, said he would travel across the country to mobilise people to join his ’crusade’
He will begin with public meetings in four States including in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The names of the other two States will be decided later.
The Morcha will mobilise people to work collectively for rooting out corruption from the country by electing representatives with clean background.
“This way, the Central Government will be compelled to translate the agenda of Jan Lokpal Bill into action and root out corruption,” Mr. Hazare said, adding that the scourge will be eliminated by about 50-60 per cent if the Lokpal Bill as suggested by the civil society comes into force.