'It seems corrupt forces in the country have united'
Expressing his resentment at the recent smear campaign against civil society members by certain elements, including some within the Congress and the government, to derail the fight against corruption, social activist Anna Hazare shot off a strongly-worded letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Rediff.com is in possession of Hazare's letter, which has been reproduced below verbatim.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi,
10, Janpath, New Delhi
Dear Mrs Gandhi
We entered the joint committee with the hope of jointly drafting a strong anti-corruption law for the country. Your letter to me, just a day before I ended my fast, that 'there is an urgent necessity of combating graft and corruption in public life' and that 'the law in these matters must be effective and deliver the desired results', was reassuring.
However, the developments of the last few days have been a cause for concern. It seems that the corrupt forces in the country have united to derail the process of drafting an effective anti-corruption law through the joint committee. Together we have to defeat their designs.
Click on NEXT to read the letter further...
Image: Anna Hazare
'I live a simple life, but even I am not spared'
One of their strategies is to smear the reputations of the civil society members in the committee.
Whereas I am of the view that the people working for public must be subjected to public scrutiny, however, when blatantly false accusations are made, fabricated CDs are planted, then one feels that the purpose is not an honest public scrutiny but to tarnish reputations.
They have not even spared me, even though I have lived a simple life following on the path of truth.
However, I am happy that despite all their efforts, the vested interests could not dig out anything of substance. This has only raised the reputations of civil society members in the eyes of public. The smear campaign of vested interests seems to be back firing.
People can see through what is happening. We are receiving many messages from the people expressing solidarity and sending wishes from across the country that the vested interests have struck back and we should not give up.
'Those in power have much more to explain'
I was wondering what would be the outcome if the government nominees in the committee were subjected to similar scrutiny or witch hunt.
Those in power have much more to explain. However, we don't want to divert the attention of the people from Lokpal Bill to individual mud-slinging, which seems to be the objective of the people behind this smear campaign.
One of the general secretaries of the Congress Party has been making many statements in the press in the last one week. I assume that he has the support of the party to make such remarks.
Most of these statements are factually wrong, which makes one believe whether his only intention is to create confusion, mislead people and derail the ongoing discussions in joint committee. Do you personally approve of his statements?
Image: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh had claimed last week that people close to Hazare were 'somehow close' to the BJP and questioned the inclusion of father-son lawyer duo of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan in the ten-member joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill
Subsequently, according to many friends in media, he held a private 'informal debriefing session' at his house and falsely accused us of having succumbed to government's pressure within the committee and that we had diluted the law.
This was a completely false statement because there were no discussions at all on the law within the committee.
His "informal debriefing" created confusions in the minds of the people across the country.
It appears that his debriefing was meant to send a message to the public that we had been "influenced".
'Don't try to derail the process of drafting the law or...'
India has suffered immensely due to corruption. This is a historic moment when the whole country seems to have come together to demand effective action against corruption.
I would urge you to advise your colleagues not to try to derail the process of drafting the law. The country is in no mood to wait any longer to have strong anti-corruption law.
People are very agitated. I fear of the consequences if the process were derailed.