Anna blames Rahul for U-turn on Lokpal

Anna Hazare on Friday accused the government of going back on its promise of passing a strong Lokpal Bill.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2011, 23:53 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Ralegan Siddhi: In what can be said to be an impending showdown between Team Anna and the government, social activist Anna Hazare on Friday accused the government of going back on its promise of passing a strong Lokpal Bill. Also bringing Rahul Gandhi in the line of fire, Anna alleged that Congress might have taken a U-turn on contentious issues of lower bureaucracy
and CBI in Lokpal under his instructions and claimed that the
government was delaying resolution of FDI imbroglio to avoid
passing Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Hazare launched a scathing attack on the government accusing
it of dishonouring an assurance given by Parliament and later
by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that lower bureaucracy,
Citizen`s Charter and setting up Lokayuktas through a central
law will be included in Lokpal.

"I think there is no coordination in this government.
Standing Committee took a decision (on inclusion of Group C
employees in Lokpal). I think after this decision was taken
Rahul Gandhi must have told something else that no, no, no (it
should not be taken).

"They operate under the instructions given by him. I
think it is Rahul Gandhi who has instructed them not to
include Group C and D employees under Lokpal. If you don`t
include this, public will teach you a lesson," he told
reporters.

"May be Rahul Gandhi told (the Congress members on the
panel) on phone not to bring these two-three issues," he said,
adding "this is my guess. You know that when there is smoke
there is fire. It is not necessary that the fire is seen."

Clearly upset with the decision to not bring lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal, Anna said, “Bring lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal. Corruption will not be eradicated from the country unless Group C and D employees are brought under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.”

“Rahul said that Lokpal should be a constitutional body. I have no objection on it. But there should be no interference from the side of the government,” Anna reiterated.

The Gandhian also warned the government that his agitation would resume if there was a backtracking on the promise that was given to him, adding “If something happens to me, then the government will be responsible.”

Earlier, overturning its two key decisions within a day, the Parliamentary panel examining the Lokpal Bill on Thursday had favoured the exclusion of group C officials from Lokpal and not to tamper with the present selection process of CBI Director despite opposition by at least 10 members.

A day after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice had finalised its report on the Lokpal Bill, its Chairman Abhishek Singhvi called an emergency meeting yesterday evening to discuss the two issues afresh.

In the meeting, several members, mostly from Congress, said group C officials should not be brought under Lokpal as it would bring "too much pressure" on a new institution.

They also said the appointment of CBI Director was not under the jurisdiction of the Committee as the Lokpal Bill was aimed at creating the institution of the ombudsman.

At least ten members, mainly from BJP, SP, CPI-M and RSP opposed the "sudden U turn" saying a decision taken by the Committee cannot be amended. "If they have reservations, they should give a dissent note," BJP member Kirti Azad said.

The committee had favoured including group C employees under Lokpal`s purview on Wednesday and had decided to have a new selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Lokpal Chairman.

In the 30-member committee, there are nine members from Congress, one each from Trinamool Congress, RJD and LJP. BJP has seven members while CPI-M, AIADMK and SP have one member each. BJD and BSP also have one member each in the Committee which also has two Independents and as many nominated members. RSP and SDF also have one member each.

With PTI inputs