The face of India's fight against corruption, Anna Hazare, on Saturday accused Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram of conspiring to make him break his fast and scupper the nationwide movement for the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Addressing a massive gathering at Freedom Park organised here by India Against Corruption (IAC) to protect the institution of the Lokayukta, Mr. Hazare dubbed the proposed Lokpal Bill “worthless”. “Jan Lokpal Bill lao, nahi to chale jao” (bring in the Jan Lok Pal Bill or quit), he said, adding, “We don't need a Government that does not listen to the people.”
Terming the Union Government “jhoota sarkar” (lying government), he said there was no point in bringing down the Government, because the next one would be worse. What was required was to make the Government listen to the people, he stressed.
Firm on agitation
Questioning the Government's will on the Lokpal Bill, Mr. Hazare declared that if Parliament failed to pass the Bill by December 23 he would go ahead with his proposed fast and ‘jail bharo' agitation.
Wondering why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had changed his stand on the Citizens Charter despite the assurance that it would be a part of the Lokpal Bill, he said, “Dr. Manmohan Singh is a good person, but he is remote controlled.”
Reiterating the demand for bringing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Lokpal and making it a part of the Lokpal's investigative agency, he expressed apprehensions over whether the Government would relinquish control over the CBI. “Every political party wants to have control over the CBI for obvious reasons,” he said.
Appealing to the youth, he said the future of the country was in their hands.
He called upon the people to stage dharna in front of the houses of MPs who did not support the Lokpal Bill. He told them not to retaliate even if they were beaten up by the police, “Don't react. Our struggle is a non-violent one and there should not be any damage to public property under any circumstances,” he said.
‘Ready to take part'
The former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, who was felicitated by Mr. Hazare on the occasion, said he was prepared to take part in the movement to protect the Lokayukta. Noting that Mr. Hazare had asked him to lead the movement in the State, he said he would not lead it, but would take active part in the fight to ensure a strong Lokayukta.
On the Government's hesitation in acting on the reports on illegal mining, he said the Government did not have the nerve to reject the report. “It is better for the Government to appoint a clean Lokayukta or quit,” he said.