New Delhi: On the eve of his day-long symbolic fast at Jantar Mantar, Gandhian Anna Hazare on Saturday lashed out at the government saying the Lokpal bill tabled in the Parliament is nothing but a “political fraud”.
“The Lokpal report prepared by the Standing Committee headed by Abhishek Singhvi is just an eye wash. The government has cheated the entire country. Is it a government or grocery shop?" said Hazare addressing a press conference in the national capital.
“The govt’s Lokpal Bill has snatched the power of investigation from Lokpal and restricted it to that of a clerk. Then what is the use of the bill”, he said.
Hazare was flanked by prominent members of his team which included Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, and Medha Patkar.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given in writing that Citizen`s charter, lower bureaucracy and establishment of Lok Ayuktas in the states would be brought under the Lokpal Bill... The issues were brought up in the Parliament and a copy of consensus was also sent to me. After which I decided to end my fast (in August). The PM`s letter was thrown into the dustbin,” he said.
“Why this volte face? Is Singhvi`s post higher than that of the Prime Minister?”, Hazare asked.
The Lokpal report prepared by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice has recommended three options for inclusion of the Prime Minister under the ambit of the Lokpal with safeguards while leaving the rest to the "wisdom of Parliament" to take a final decision.
It favoured keeping judiciary, MPs` conduct inside Parliament and Group C employees at the Centre out of the purview of Lokpal.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee also favoured equilibrium in power among the "trinity" of Lokpal, CBI and CVC under which the CBI would not be subordinate to the ombudsman.
On creating equilibrium among Lokpal, CBI and CVC, the committee said CBI would not be subordinate to the Lokpal but it would only be subject to general superintendence of Lokpal.
The anti-corruption crusader also smacked the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s hand in “weakening” the bill.
"There is somebody behind... Who is bigger than the Prime Minister... We suspect Rahul Gandhi could be behind this... I am sure the Standing Committee must have operated under the instructions given by the Gandhi scion," Hazare said.
Hazare will observe a day-long symbolic fast in Jantar mantar to press for a strong Lokpal on December 11. He has also declared to go on an indefinite fast from December 27.
During Sunday’s fast leaders from several non-UPA parties including BJP`s Arun Jaitley, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, CPI`s A B Bardhan, CPM`s Brinda Karat, SP`s Ram Gopal Yadav and TDP`s Chandrababu Naidu are likely to be present.
Hazare has also threatened to campaign against the Congress-led UPA in the upcoming Assembly elections and also in the Lok Sabha election if a strong Lokpal bill won’t be passed in the Parliament during the Winter Session.
“The government is not serious to fight corruption,” he said.
“We will make voters aware of Jan Lokpal bill and the stance of Congress. We will request them that what is the use of keeping those people in power who do not want to remove corruption from the country?” he added.
Earlier in Ralegan Siddhi before leaving for Delhi, Hazare said "this government is intoxicated by power and money. It cannot see anything else...Like a drunken man becomes unconscious, similarly the government is unconscious. It is our job to get them into their senses."