The Centre, which has repeatedly cheated on its deadlines, has run out of any more grace time for passing a strong Lokpal Bill during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, anti-corruption movement spearhead Anna Hazare said on Sunday.
Interacting with journalists after addressing a large rally, his first in Chennai, Mr. Hazare said repeated betrayals by the government despite assurances had made Team Anna sceptical about the passage of the Bill during the winter session, and the composition of the Bill, if at all it is passed.
Claiming that the people had been betrayed by the government four times in the last 10 months on its promise of a Lokpal Bill, Mr. Hazare pointed out that in spite of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance — on the basis of which he had called off his August fast — the Parliamentary standing committee report had not included the citizen's charter, lower bureaucracy (group C and D) and establishment of Lok Ayuktas in all States.
The Prime Minister is a straightforward and non-corrupted man; the problem is with the “remote control” as some around him seemed to be more powerful than him, Mr. Hazare remarked.
“If the Bill is passed, I will present flowers to the Prime Minister on December 27; otherwise it is only protests,” said Mr. Hazare.
He made it clear that there was no going back on the protest fast scheduled for December 27 at Ramlila maidan in Delhi and the ‘jail bharo' stir from January 1 if the government failed again.
Indicating that there has been no softening of Team Anna's stance on bringing the CBI under the Lokpal, Mr. Hazare said there could be no compromise on this core demand. Pointing out that there had not been any instance of a Minister, high-ranking bureaucrat or police officer being sent to jail (for corruption) as the CBI remained under the government, Mr. Hazare said the CBI had to be taken away from government control for the people to get justice, he said.
“The Lokpal will be nothing without the CBI. It is better not to have a Lokpal if the CBI as a whole or at least its anti-corruption wing is not brought under the Lokpal,” said Team Anna leader Kiran Bedi.
She pointed out that the agitation for Lokpal was started following complaints of political interference over the CBI. So the mass consensus was that the CBI should become autonomous and free from government influence, she said.
Earlier, addressing the rally, Mr. Hazare promised to build a model village in Tamil Nadu on the lines of the one he developed in Maharashtra. He said it was a shame that Tamil Nadu was one of the nine States that did not have a Lok Ayukta — a lacuna that would be resolved once the Lokpal Bill was passed.
‘A document of people'
Team Anna member Santosh Hegde who referred to criticism that the campaign was holding Parliament to ransom and that laws could not be made on streets and maidans, said the very Constitution that bound Parliament, executive and judiciary, was a document of the people in whom was vested the ultimate power in a democracy.