Just who is covered under this Bill, asks Arvind Kejriwal
With 85 per cent people in a single parliamentary constituency supporting the Jan Lokpal Bill as opposed to the government's Lokpal Bill, social activist Anna Hazare on Monday termed as “unfortunate” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's justification for keeping his office out of its purview.
Questioning the government's intention, he called upon the Opposition parties to fight for a strong Lokpal Bill. “In a democracy both the government and the Opposition are important. But when the ruling alliance becomes weak, the Opposition parties must stand up and fight.”
Addressing a press conference here, he said he and the people had believed that the country had a Prime Minister who was honest and non-corrupt, “but after his recent statement, we wonder whether an honest person is being dishonest.” Dr. Singh had recently said that it was “not advisable” to bring the office of the Prime Minister under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.
Even as the government is all set to introduce the Cabinet-approved Lokpal Bill in Parliament this week, he said, “Our fight is not against Parliament. It is against the government…I had written a letter to the Prime Minister on July 18 but he has not replied.”
Standing firm on his resolve to go on an indefinite fast from August 16 to demand a Bill that was “structurally strong,” he said he was not insisting on undertaking a fast at Jantar Mantar because the issue, for him, was more important than the venue.
There is speculation on whether the government will allow Anna Hazare to undertake his fast at the earlier venue — Jantar Mantar — or send him to the outskirts of Delhi.
The Gandhian said he was ready to face ‘lathis' or go to jail in order to espouse the cause of a corruption-free society. “We will not raise our hand in the face of lathis till our last breath,” he said.
Armed with a favourable result obtained in a referendum on the Jan Lokpal Bill versus Lokpal Bill conducted in Chandni Chowk — the parliamentary constituency of Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal — Mr. Hazare said the government should see the writing on the wall. Mr. Sibal's constituency was chosen because he “represented the face of the government.” Over 85 per cent surveyed had favoured the draft Bill prepared by the civil society members of the joint drafting panel.