New Delhi: The Anna Hazare camp on Monday wrote
to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to push for inclusion of his
post in the ambit of Lokpal, arguing that a step otherwise
would be "retrograde".
They also took on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for
accusing the civil society of trying to undermine democracy
and said his statement betrays a "distorted understanding of
democracy and arrogance of power".
Two days ahead of the next meeting of the joint drafting
committee on Lokpal Bill, its five activist members, including
Hazare, sent a letter to Singh alleging that the government
seems to be shrinking the scope of the anti-corruption regime.
"Taking the Prime Minister out of the ambit the Lokpal
would be a retrograde step," the letter said.
In order to take the Prime Minister out of the purview of
the ombudsman, the government will need to amend the
Constitution and grant him immunity similar to that enjoyed by
the President, they said. They asked if the government is
planning to do that and why.
The letter also mentioned that Mukherjee as chair of the
Standing Committee on Lokpal in 2001 had himself recommended
that Prime Minister should be covered under Lokpal and then
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had agreed to that.
Civil society activist Arvind Kejriwal told reporters
that the Prime Minister himself had earlier said he will have
no problem in being under Lokpal but his ministers are saying
otherwise. "Is there a disconnect between them," he asked.