Social activist Anna Hazare and his team have decided to go on indefinite fast again at Jantar Mantar here from Wednesday to press for an effective anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.
Mr. Hazare, who earlier decided not to go on fast due to medical reasons, on Tuesday gave an ultimatum to the government to meet their immediate demand of setting up an independent special investigation team (pending passage of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament) in four days or he would join the hunger strike to “fight till the finish.”
Till a bill that incorporated the basic features of the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament, the government must set up an independent special investigation team of judges that would probe charges of corruption and misdemeanour against 15 Union Ministers, Mr. Hazare said at a press conference here.
The team also sought fast-track courts to expedite cases against 162 Lok Sabha and 39 Rajya Sabha members. The CBI cases against party leaders must be turned in to the proposed special investigation team.
Charging the government with repeatedly going back on its word in the last one year on the Lokpal Bill despite two fasts by him, Mr. Hazare said, “Ministers who have allegations against them will never allow an anti-corruption Bill to be formed and passed by Parliament. Therefore, we are demanding that an special investigation team be formed to probe the allegations against Ministers which are based on documentary proof.”
Mr. Hazare was accompanied by Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai at the press conference.
Mr. Hazare, who was urged by his team to refrain from going on fast in view of his poor health, said: “Yeh ladai aar-par ki hai. Isme agar jaan bhi gaye to parwah nai [This is a fight to the finish…I don’t care even if I lose my life].”
Mr. Kejriwal, Mr. Sisodia and Mr. Rai will be the first ones to start fasting. Mr. Hazare said he was not sanguine nursing any hopes going by past experience.
He was referring to Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s “secret meetings” with him alone during which the Minister said the government was willing to meet all their demands, but nothing came out of those parleys.
Ahead of the fast, the Prime Minister’s Office released a list of measures taken to tackle corruption such as ending discretionary powers of Ministers, time-bound decisions on prosecution requests and passage of the Lokpal Bill and the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill by the Lok Sabha.