Lokpal, right to reject can eliminate graft: Anna Hazare
Hyderabad: Declaring that he would mobilize six crore people over next one and a half years for his anti-graft campaign, Anna Hazare Sunday said Jan Lokpal alone cannot root out corruption and called for comprehensive electoral reforms and empowering of village-level bodies.
Addressing a public meeting here, he said his fight was for changing the entire system and called upon youths to join hands with him. The 75-year-old said Jan Lokpal can control 50 to 55 percent corruption.
"What about the remaining corruption? That is why we are demanding right to reject a candidate (in the elections)," he said.
"If all five contesting candidates in an election are goondas, whom the people will choose? We are saying that you provide an option to the voters to reject them. If maximum number of voters reject the candidates, the election should be cancelled and these five should not be allowed to contest again," Anna Hazare said.
He felt this reform is a must to check corruption in elections and pointed out that a candidate is spending Rs.5 crore to Rs.6 crore in each election to bribe voters.
"They get power by using money, and money by using power. There is need to put an end to this vicious circle," he said.
He vowed to continue fight for Jan Lokpal and alleged that the government is not sincere in bringing the anti-graft legislation.
Hazare explained that the government initially turned down the demand to involve people's representatives in bringing the legislation. He also referred to the government's reluctance to bring middle and lower-level bureaucrats under Lokpal.
"For the next one-and-half years, I will visit all states to create awareness. I don't know if I will be able to awaken all 120 crore people but if I go around, I can mobilize six crore people who can force the government to change the system," he said.
Hazare claimed that the nation-wide campaign launched by Janatantra Morcha from Patna last month evoked good public response. He told the gathering that Morcha would be built from village level and that every person involved in it would be a leader.
He also clarified that nobody in the Morcha would be allowed to collect money.
Stating that he had been carrying on the fight for the last 30 years, the social activist said he had no fear of death. "I will feel honoured if I die while serving the society and the country," he added.