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Rediff News  All News  » News » Anna warns to go on fast if govt fails to pass Lokpal

Anna warns to go on fast if govt fails to pass Lokpal

November 11, 2012 17:37 IST

Anna Hazare on Sunday warned the government of breaking his vow of not undertaking fasts if it fails to pass a strong Lokpal Bill before 2014 elections and alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had "cheated" him on the issue.

He also took a dig at political leadership in the country saying there was no scarcity of leaders in the country but the problem was that these people were involved in scams like the one witnessed in allocation of coal blocks and 2G spectrum.

Addressing volunteers after inaugurating his apolitical movement's new office in south Delhi's Sarvodaya Enclave, he said one needs to change the villages if they want to bring about change in the country and it is not going to change with allocation of grants alone.

"If that was the case, Tatas and Birlas would have changed the country long time back...We don't have scarcity of leadership. Problem is that these people are into coal scams, 2G scams...Our country requires a leadership that delivers what it promises. Mere lip service won't do," he said.

Talking about his pet theme of Lokpal Bill, Hazare said he had pledged that he would not go on fast again to press for any demand.

"But I am ready to break that pledge in case the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed by the government before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections...this time, I may fast at Ramlila Maidan if the Bill is not passed before the elections (in 2014)," he said.

Referring to last August's 13-day fast at Ramlila Maidan, he alleged the prime minister had "cheated" him by saying that they have passed a resolution to incorporate his demands in Lokpal Bill.

"If there was no such promise (by the PM), I would not have broken my fast (at the Ramlila). The prime minister gave a promise and then I broke the fast. He has cheated me (by not keeping the promise)...We do not support the government version of Lokpal Bill," he said.

Without taking the name of Arvind Kejriwal who split with him on the question of turning the movement political, Hazare advised his supporters not enter into "squabble" with opponents.

"Yes, our team have spilt. But I believe both the paths are necessary. We thought that politics is not our way. We will not be enemies. A volunteer can choose his path. They should be clear in their mind. It should not be that they change minds frequently," he said.

The fight for corruption-free India and Jan Lokpal Bill, Right to Reject and empowering Gram Sabhas would continue, he said, adding that they were earlier fighting only against corruption but now it has become a fight to change the entire system.

The entire fight to bring systemic change in the country would take 20-25 years and one should be prepared for it, the veteran activist said.

Asked about complaints from a section of volunteers that the new office is far, he shot back saying how would they tour the entire country if they find this location far.

Hazare has yesterday unveiled his new team to take his "apolitical" anti-corruption battle forward with a promise to expand the panel within a month in which former Army Chief V K Singh could be a special invitee.

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