The Parliamentary Standing Committee's decision to exclude the lower bureaucracy from the ambit of the Lokpal Bill came after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's intervention, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare alleged on Friday.
At a press conference in his native town of Ralegan Siddhi, he said the government was lacking in coordination. “The government works as per the instructions of Rahul Gandhi. I think that after the earlier decision was taken, he instructed them not to include Class 3 and 4 employees under the Lokpal.”
Asked whether he had any evidence to prove Mr. Gandhi's intervention, he said: “This is my guess. There cannot be any smoke without fire.”
“The corruption affecting the poor will come down only when the Class 3 and 4 employees, with whom the poor have to interact, are brought within the Lokpal. Corrupt politicians work hand in glove with these employees. How will the poor get justice? If the government does not include these categories of employees under the Lokpal, the public will teach [it] a lesson,” he said.
Mr. Hazare reiterated that the Standing committee's U-turn amounted to betrayal of the “promise” given by the Prime Minister, and Parliament's resolution. “In his letter to me, the Prime Minister says he agrees with me fully on bringing in a strong Lokpal Bill. He says we have the same objective, but there might be some differences over the way of achieving the goal. But if he had agreed with the … inclusion of the citizens' charter and the lower bureaucracy in the Lokpal and … a Lokayukta Act for the States, what is the need to go back on the decision?”
However, Mr. Hazare agreed with Mr. Gandhi's earlier proposal to make the Lokpal a constitutional body. “But it should be protected from government interference.”
Mr. Hazare said the government was delaying the debate on its decision to allow foreign equity in retail to avoid passing the Lokpal Bill. The government had no will to take decisions; this was the reason for the impasse in Parliament for nine days.
Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is opposing the decision, was responsible for the logjam, he said: “Why are you blaming the BJP for this?”
Fast from December 27
Mr. Hazare said he would observe an eight-day fast on the Ramlila Maidan from December 27. Thereafter, he would tour the poll-bound States of Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand and tell the people that the government had no will or inclination to pass the Lokpal Bill. “If something happens to me in the fast, it will be a blot on this government,” he said.