Anna challenges Sonia for debate on Lokpal

Unhappy with government’s version of Lokpal draft, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Thursday said that the bill is a betrayal and a cruel joke.

Last Updated: Dec 22, 2011, 11:50 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Ralegan Siddhi: Unhappy with government’s version of Lokpal draft, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Thursday said that the bill was a betrayal and a cruel joke.

Challenging Congress president Sonia Gandhi to debate government’s Lokpal Bill in public Anna said, “If Soniaji thinks government’s version of draft is strong then she should come in public and have an open debate with Team Anna in presence of media.”

“Let them explain it to the nation how their bill is strong and we will tell them how their version of Lokpal Bill is weak,” Anna added.

Hazare`s remarks came as a response to Gandhi`s speech at Congress Parliamentary Party meeting yesterday during which she said the proposed legislation was strong and she was ready for a fight for it.

He said he would go on a three-day hunger strike from Dec 27-29 and would launch "jail bharo" struggle. "My jail bharo protest will be outside the residence of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi," the 74-year-old activist said.

Hitting out at the government, Anna said that the draft makes it difficult for common man to fight corruption.

He said putting CBI out of Lokpal shows how the bill will be "useless".

"The biggest victims of corruption are the poor who have to pay bribes to get any work done. How will the common man live like this? Out demand is that lower bureaucracy be brought under Lokpal," he said.

But, Hazare said the lower bureaucracy is being brought under Central Vigilance Commission which is under the control of government.

"How will the common man get justice. Lower bureaucracy and CBI should be under Lokpal. Only then the bill will be in right form," he said.

Criticising the Grievance Redressal Bill, Hazare said the government does not have the intent to help people fight corruption.

"If a citizen has a complaint regarding a passport, he will have to go to grievance redressal officer. If he is not satisfied, he can approach the senior officer. If he does not get justice then he has to go state level and central level commissions.

"For just a passport, why would anyone take these many rounds of government offices," he said.