Ralegan Siddhi: Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Wednesday outrightly rejected the Lokpal draft prepared by the government and said that he will go ahead with his fast and `jail bharo` agitation from December 27.
Speaking to reporters on the Lokpal issue, the 74-old Gandhian said, “The UPA government has cheated all of us on the Lokpal issue and the people of this country will teach a lesson to it for failing to bring a strong anti-graft legislation to curb corruption.”
Anna said the ombudsman would not be strong and effective if the premier investigation agency was not kept under it.
"If the CBI is outside then how will the Lokpal be strong. This system will save corrupt politicians. If CBI comes under Lokpal then P Chidambaram would be in jail. You are saving corrupt politicians and say it is a strong Lokpal," he said.
Rejecting the bill, Anna also took strong exception to government bringing a separate Citizens` Charter Bill, saying a common man will have to run from pillar to post to get his grievances redressed under the proposed system.
"It is cheating people who will teach them a lesson," Hazare said.
"How can the Lokpal be effective when Citizens Charter is out of its purview? A person will have to go through various levels for redressal of his grievances.What to do? It’s like fooling people," he said.
The activist said he will visit all five poll-bound states and let people know about the misdeeds of the government. "Ahead of General Election, we will visit the whole country and tell people about the government," he said.
Endorsing Anna’s viewpoint, his close aide Kiran Bedi said, “By rejecting the demands made by the civil society, which included bringing the PM and the CBI under the purview of the Lokpal, the government has drafted a weak anti-graft legislation that will be of little help.”
The former IPS officer said, “By narrowing the ambit of the Lokpal and changing the charter of the CBI, the government is increasing its discrepancies and making it more vulnerable. So far, we had been demanding the inclusion of the CBI in Lokpal but now onwards we will launch a campaign to save the probe agency.”
Bedi also made a scathing attack on the opposition parties, especially the BJP, for changing its stance on the Lokpal issue.
She also dared the main opposition party to join hands with Team Anna if it is so serious in fighting corruption in public life.
Referring to Advani’s campaign against the black money, Bedi said, “Will Advani ji join his campaign against black money with Anna’s campaign against corruption?”
Another key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal also slammed the government for drafting a weak Lokpal Bill.
“The draft bill prepared by the government will do more harm than good. A weak Lokpal will be of no help to the common man. All efforts should be made to block its passage in the Parliament,” he said.
Kejriwal also charged the government to be involved neck-deep in corruption so it lacks the will to fight corruption.
“The government’s decision to bring a separate Citizen Charter proves the point that it is not serious in fighting corruption. The CBI should have been brought under the purview of the Lokpal, but the government is not willing to do so. This means its intentions are not clear,” the RTI activist concluded.
Reactions from Team Anna came shortly after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Congress president Sonia Gandhi batted for the anti-graft legislation cleared by the Union Cabinet and asked the civil society and the Opposition to accept it.
Clearly, the Team Anna has upped the ante against the UPA government for not delivering what it promised to weed out corruption.