‘Team Anna will ensure defeat of Congress in U.P. Assembly poll if strong Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed in winter session'

A flutter was created at a rally organised by India Against Corruption here on Tuesday, when a sandal was thrown at the chief guest, Arvind Kejriwal, as he alighted from his car and moved towards the dais. The sandal-thrower, identified as Jitendra Pathak from Jalaun district, was overpowered by IAC activists. Police intervention saved the situation from deteriorating.

Pathak, aged 40, was taken by the police to a temple near the venue, Jhule Lal Park, on the banks of the Gomti and detained. The meeting had begun by then. Later, he was whisked away amidst tight security.

Even as IAC termed the incident an attempt to divert attention and derail the movement against corruption, ‘Team Anna' warned the UPA government that if a strong Jan Lokpal Bill was not passed in the winter session of Parliament, it would ensure the defeat of the Congress in next year's Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Mr. Kejriwal, a prominent member of Team Anna's core committee, said Anna Hazare himself would come to Uttar Pradesh and appeal to the people to ensure that the Congress met the same fate that befell it in the Hisar by-election.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Kejriwal referred to the Prime Minister's letter to Mr. Hazare in which he assured the social activist that a strong Jan Lokpal Bill would be brought in the winter session of Parliament. It had been decided to wait till the winter session, he said. “However, if the UPA government fails to live up to its assurance, it will be ensured that not a single vote is cast in favour of the Congress in the U.P. Assembly polls,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Denying that the anti-corruption movement had assumed the form of an agitation against the Congress, Mr. Kejriwal said that since the Congress was in power at the Centre it alone could bring in a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. “If the Bill is passed, the protest would be withdrawn,” the social activist added.

In a specific reference to Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Kejriwal said a strong Jan Lokpal Bill was needed to curb corruption on the part of Chief Minister Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh and the Bharatiya Janata Party.