New Delhi: Gandhian Anna Hazare, Saturday, arrived in the national capital to observe a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar on Sunday to protest against the Lokpal draft prepared by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Before leaving for Delhi, Anna Hazare at his native village, Ralegaon Siddhi launched a vitriolic attack on the government, charging that it was "intoxicated" by power and said the "second fight for independence" has started which will go on till corruption is eradicated.
"So many martyrs lost their lives for our independence but even today we cannot experience independence. Who got independent. What independence. Corruption, loot is still here. Only `goras` left and `kalas` came in, that is the only difference," Hazare further said.
"So the second fight for independence has started, it is a long fight, till corruption gets eradicated, it will go on. Many people will have to go to jail again, be lathicharged, some will have to sacrifice, that time is here now. Till we sacrifice, we won`t get the right independence," Hazare told reporters.
Hitting out at the government, Hazare said, "This government is intoxicated by power and money. It cannot see anything else. They have forgotten the sacrifices by the likes of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Like a drunk man becomes unconscious, similarly the government is unconscious.
"It is our job to get them into their senses. This in only a day-long agitation, after December 27, it will be a long agitation. Today that you all are here, I am energised," he said.
This will be Hazare`s second protest at Jantar Mantar on the issue, the first being the hugely successful five-day fast from April five which forced the government to set up a joint committee of government and activists to draft Lokpal Bill.
Team Anna and police expect a large turnout at the venue and adequate police personnel are being deployed at the spot.
Some of Hazare`s detractors are also planning to stage protest at the same site and raise questions to him but have not received the permission for any demonstration.
Hazare has also announced an extended agitation at Ramlila Gounds starting from December 27 if the legislation is not passed in the Winter Session of Parliament.
The 286-page report on the Lokpal Bill, 2011 prepared by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice after over two months of sittings, was tabled in Parliament on Friday.
The Parliamentary Committee has favoured an equilibrium in power among the "trinity" of Lokpal, CBI and CVC under which the CBI would not be subordinate to the ombudsman and rejected independent phone tapping powers for the proposed body.
Anna blames Rahul
Hazare on Friday blamed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for the government`s weak version of the Lokpal bill and said in the present government, only Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was serious about the bill.
"Rahul Gandhi is behind this weak bill by the government because the prime minister gave me in writing and a resolution was also passed in Parliament," Hazare said.
Hazare said that earlier, most members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee had accepted the draft bill, but again some changes were made.
Hazare reiterated his request to voters in seven states going to elect Assemblies next year not to support the Congress.
Team Anna hits out
Questioning the Standing Committee’s credibility and terming the report regressive Arvind Kejriwal said: “The Standing Committee had thirty members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report is supported by balance twelve. Seven from the Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati’s party (BSP).”
“The Standing Committee’s recommendations, if implemented, would increase corruption. It would disintegrate the CBI’s functioning. This report takes our anti-corruption systems two steps back. We must oppose this report tooth and nail,” Kejriwal further said.
It seems the report has provided enough ammunition to Team Anna to launch another scathing attack on the government as Hazare’s key demands regarding inclusion of lower bureaucracy and citizen charter under Lokpal’s ambit were not met.
Lokpal bill is expected to come up for discussion only on December 19 - during the last week of the ongoing Winter Session that ends on December 22.