Spearheading its campaign to put the Lokpal Bill issue in the forefront as a poll issue, Team Anna on Sunday accused the four major parties in the fray in Uttar Pradesh of misleading the people on the issue and demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh come up with an altogether new, effective and strong Bill.
Besides the Prime Minister, Team Anna wrote separate letters to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh and raised other issues as well and sought to know the compulsion for giving ticket to people with corrupt and criminal antecedents.
Strongly worded, these letters, interestingly, also deal with the political scenario in Uttar Pradesh and dwell on the post-election possibilities. Among the commonality in these letters, though not exactly identical, was the poser to each one of them: whether the current Bill is effective and strong; whether the current land acquisition law should go; and what is the compulsion to court criminal elements.
The Prime Minister and Mr. Gandhi were accused of betraying the people, while the roles of the BJP, the BSP and the SP in Parliament were questioned vis-à-vis the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, which was stalled in the Rajya Sabha.
In the letter to Dr. Singh, Team Anna charged him with betraying the people and Parliament at each turn by not accommodating the resolution adopted in the House that promised to bring the lower bureaucracy and citizens' charter under the ambit of the Lokpal.
“It appears Parliament is in the clutches of the government and none has control over the latter and that it appeared free to act wilfully for five years,” charged Mr. Anna Hazare, who was the lone signatory to the letter addressed to the Prime Minister.
The other four letters were jointly signed by Mr. Hazare, Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.
Mr. Hazare sought to know from the Prime Minister what prevented him from freeing the CBI of government control, whether it was afraid of some files, or wanted to misuse it to protect (Union Home Minister) P. Chidambaram and other “corrupt” leaders or arm twist Mulayam Singh and Mayawati to garner their support to run his government.
Urging him to withdraw the “weak and ineffective” Bill, Mr. Hazare hoped the Prime Minister would bring in a strong legislation. He said he would continue with his agitation till his demand was met.
Raising the issue of exploitation of poor farmers whose land were being grabbed fraudulently, Mr. Hazare asked Dr. Singh whether the Land Acquisition Act 1894 should go and whether the gram sabhas should be empowered to decide on such matters.
Mr. Gandhi was questioned on his ‘dual stand' on the Lokpal. Team Anna underscored that while favouring to give Constitutional status to Lokpal Mr. Gandhi did not favour giving it any freedom or power.