Thursday, December 22, 2011

Government bill weak, gives no power to punish: Anna Hazare (The Hindu)

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Calling the government’s Lokpal Bill weak and incompetent to handle the corruption in the country, anti graft crusader Anna Hazare said on Thursday that such a bill should not be passed by the Parliament.
He stated that if the parliament failed to pass the Bill in favour of the people, he would take the struggle to the ‘people’s parliament’ and go ahead with his agitation from December 27. He was addressing reporters in his hometown Ralegan Siddhi after watching the day’s parliamentary proceedings on television.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hazare had dared Congress president Sonia Gandhi to have a public debate on the Bill. “Sonia Gandhi says the bill is strong. If it is so, let her come out and debate with us in front of media. Let people see it. Let us have a face to face debate,” he had said.
Mr. Hazare criticised the Bill for failing to give the Lokpal powers to punish the corrupt. “Unless and until the corrupt are sent to jail, corruption will not end. There should be fear in the minds of people while committing the offence,” Mr. Hazare said.
He was also against bringing the lower bureaucracy (class C and D) under the purview of the Central Vigilance commission and not the Lokpal, stating that this would mean an increased government involvement.
Mr Hazare also attacked the government for not making the CBI an independent body under the Lokpal.
“Such a weak Bill should not be passed by the Parliament. If such an incompetent Bill is passed by the Centre, it will affect the states’ Lokayukta Bill which will be emulated from the Lokpal bill,” Mr Hazare said. He emphasised that corruption in the country will not be reduced by such feeble attempts.
Asked if having no quota for minorities in the Lokpal panel was acceptable to him, Mr Hazare said that he would like to leave that issue to be sorted by the Parliament. “I have faith in the Parliament. We will see what they do,” he said.
Chalking out the further course of action, Mr Hazare said that after his three-day fast from December 27, and the jail bharo andolan, he would tour the country and tell people not to vote for people who had opposed the Jan Lokpal Bill in parliament.

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