Anna Hazare calls for nationwide fast on Sunday

Congress not participating in ‘Maha-debate’

December 10, 2011 10:48 am | Updated November 17, 2021 12:05 am IST - New Delhi

Rejecting the Parliamentary Standing Committee's report on the Lokpal Bill as a betrayal of the people, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Saturday appealed to them to register their protest across the country by holding an anshan (daylong fast), as he would be observing here on Sunday.

The Congress has declined to participate in a ‘Maha-debate' at the venue of the fast, expressing its difficulty in outlining its views before examining the final draft of the Bill. Replying to the invitation extended to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said: “A debate at this stage outside Parliament might be premature.”

Talking to journalists here, Mr. Hazare said it was not he who had been betrayed but the people by the standing committee, and suspected that a minority opinion had been pushed at the behest Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. “There is someone who is above the post of Prime Minister. I suspect that is Rahul Gandhi. Who else has the courage to oppose Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? That is why this is happening,” he said.

The committee's recommendation sought to render the institution of Lokpal a post office, robbing it of the power of investigation which even the government's draft Bill had proposed.

“It is time for the youth to come out on the streets,” Mr. Hazare said, underscoring that nothing had changed in the country but for the exit of the whites and the blacks taking over the reins of plunder. “But there should be no violence and we have to keep fighting till we have a corruption-free India.”

Parliament had unanimously adopted a resolution, including the three issues of citizen's charter, all categories of employees, and Lokayuktas in States within the ambit of the Bill, he stressed and said the Prime Minister not only wrote to him but also sent a copy of the resolution to urge him to break his fast and reassure the agitating people in August.

“Now, Abhishek Singhvi [Standing Committee chairman] appears to be above the Prime Minister. He says there was no unanimity in Parliament on including these issues under the Lokpal and that he didn't have the Prime Minister's letter [written] to me. Who is misleading is the nation?”

Mr. Hazare said the government's intentions had been suspect during the meetings of the joint drafting committee and in its failure to present the Jan Lokpal Bill before the Cabinet. Moreover, the government draft alone was introduced in Parliament.

He charged the Standing Committee with functioning dictatorially by submitting a report based on the opinion of just 11 members when 17 others had opposed it. Mr. Hazare said it was not he who had been betrayed but the country as a whole.

Sunday's anshan on the Ramlila ground was to protest the committee's report.

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