India Against Corruption, Chennai chapter, will conduct a referendum over the next 10 days covering one lakh people to find out the pulse of the city on the Lokpal Bill.

Launching the referendum at IIT-Madras, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal told journalists that the Centre had ignored most of the suggestions from civil society and was preparing its own toothless bill to shield the corrupt instead of penalising them.

Mr. Kejriwal said the government's Lokpal Bill did not cover corruption at panchayats, municipal corporations, NREGS, PDS or scams like Adarsh Housing Society, Commonwealth Games, Taj corridor, cash-for-votes and others.

According to him, if the government's Bill was passed the corrupt would be spared and persons who raised their voice against corruption would fall under its ambit.

“Public sentiment has been ignored”

The government draft was being prepared by a few Cabinet Ministers in secrecy ignoring public sentiment and with absolutely no public consultation, while the Jan Lokpal Bill was drafted after widespread public consultations. Already referendums had been conducted in various cities and the peoples' bill enjoyed popular support, Mr. Kejriwal said, appealing to people to extend support to the campaign against corruption.

Of the 71 basic principles, the Centre had agreed to only a dozen minor issues and left out all the major ones. At present, the reaction from political parties was mixed but this would change after the tabling of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, he said.

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