Hours after Rahul Gandhi’s strong pitch for speedy passage of the Lokpal bill, Anna Hazare said he is satisfied with the amended draft bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha. On the fifth day of his fast, Anna said he would end his agitation as soon as the law is in place.
“I would be sending a wrong message to the country if I continue to insist that the government should agree with me 100%. Parliament and the government are the highest-decision making bodies and if there are some issues where I have to make adjustments, I have no problems. I fully agree with the draft tabled in the Rajya Sabha as it serves the cause we were fighting for,” said Anna, hailing Rahul’s statement.
On his fourth fast for the anti-graft ombudsman, Hazare expressed satisfaction over the proposed selection process for Lokpal. “The Prime Minister has come under the purview of Lokpal. Now it’s the responsibility of the state governments to ensure appointment of the Lokayukta,” he said.
Anna virtually dumped his one-time associate and founder of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, saying their journey together had ended with the Lokpal bill. “We have separated now and are walking different paths. If he (Arvind) and his party are unhappy with the draft, they can start a new agitation. I am not with them and there is no point in a discussion,” he said.
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi criticized AAP leaders for labelling the draft as “jokepal”. “Those who are calling the bill jokepal have not read and understood it. They should go through the draft and then come to conclusions. This bill has been drafted and amended keeping common people in mind and we are satisfied with the draft.”
Earlier, some others who had joined Anna from Delhi were asked by his supporters to leave the stage. “On Friday, ex-army chief Gen V K Singh used Anna’s stage to target Kejriwal and AAP. However, Anna did not stop him. Instead, he asked AAP leader Gopal Rai to leave the village when he questioned Singh. This has sent a wrong signal,” said an Anna supporter.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said Anna Hazare is being misled on the Lokpal issue as the bill the government seeks to pass does not fulfil his demands and will create a “jokepal”. He said this bill does not contain any of the three most important provisions that the Jan Lokpal bill espoused by Hazare and his team contained. “I m really surprised. How can Anna accept sarkari lokpal bill? Sarkari lokpal is a “jokepal”. Who is misguiding Anna?” Kejriwal tweeted. He tweeted, “None of the 3 conditions which were agreed upon when Anna broke his fast in Aug 2011 are there in this jokepal.”