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Anna-Kejrwal spat on Lokpal out in the open

Last updated on: December 15, 2013 19:55 IST

Anna-Kejrwal spat on Lokpal out in the open

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Rubbishing Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's contention that the Lokpal bill under consideration in Parliament was weak, activist Anna Hazare has said that "if anyone feels there are shortcomings in the bill after it is passed, they should fast for it."

"I have read the provisions of the bill properly. If you (Kejriwal) think the bill has any shortcomings, fast for it," Hazare, whose fast for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill entered sixth day on Sunday, said while talking to reporters at Ralegan Siddhi.

The anti-graft crusader said several of his expectations from the legislation have been met and he expressed satisfaction over the bill which has been presented in the Rajya Sabha.

"Three issues for which we had campaigned in the past, including Citizen's Charter, are also being addressed," he said.

Asked about the differences between him and Kejriwal, Hazare said, "I don't wish to comment...Why should we quarrel?"

"The government's control over CBI has been removed in this bill. I saw 13 such points and told the government that I welcome this," Hazare said.

"That is why I thought that the bill is beneficial to the people and country," he added.

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Anna-Kejrwal spat on Lokpal out in the open

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"I told the government that I am thankful for tabling the bill in Rajya Sabha. Bring it in both the Houses in this session itself. If needed, extend the tenure of Parliament," he said.

"However, I am confident that this need may not arise as people are saying that the bill would be the first thing to be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Monday," he said.

Thanking major political parties, including Congress and BJP, for supporting the bill, Hazare said, a few are not supporting it. "So, if there is a ruckus while passage of the bill, pass the bill amid ruckus but pass it anyhow," he said.

"There are still five days left for the session to end. If you desire so, it can be brought in both the Houses during this period. If there is paucity of time, extend it by a few days," he said.

"I won't end fast till the bill is passed. I want to live for the country and fight for the country, for society. I have to take up issues like right to reject and right to recall," he said. 

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Meanwhile, saddened by Anna Hazare's stand that he would break his fast if the Lokpal Bill which is in the Upper House is enacted, Kejriwal warned that the proposed legislation will not prevent corruption but instead work to "protect the corrupt".

"Forget about any minister, not even a mouse will go to jail if this bill is enacted. I can assure you that there would not be a single conviction with this Lokpal in next 10 years. I pondered over who will gain from this Lokpal Bill. I found that Congress would gain and its Vice President Rahul Gandhi will get some credit for its passage," Kejriwal said.

He claimed that until Central Bureau of Investigation was made independent, which has not been done in this Bill, there would not be a single conviction in corruption cases.

"In the past 50 years of CBI, there are only four convictions of political leaders by the agency. This is due to the fact that they report to their same political bosses against whom they probe a case.

"Had CBI been independent, then there was a possibility that even the Prime Minister might have been jailed in either 2G case or Coal scam," the AAP leader told reporters.

The party termed the Lokpal Bill as "weak" and said it will not prevent corruption but instead work to "protect the corrupt".

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Criticising the Bill in present form, Kejriwal said the Bill which was passed on August 11, 2011 had the provision of independent investigating machinery for the Lokpal.

"But today, how can we accept this weak Lokpal. We will continue with our agitation for Janlokpal and make the people aware that Parliament has failed to keep its three assurances made to Hazare to break his fast," he said.

To suggestions that provisions from Janlokpal Bill can be added to the legislation once it is enacted, Kejriwal retorted, "when they don't commit corruption in instalments, then why do they want to give us a law in instalments?".

Attacking the government, he said, "What do they think, it is a retail shop or what? Why don't they make a strict law in one go, instead of making is piecemeal?"

Asked about the possibility of formation of government in Delhi, Kejriwal said they were awaiting the reply from Congress and BJP about their stand on 18 important issues, "which were mainly created by them".

He said he was trying to do "politics of consensus" and not "shying away from responsibility" and that's why he had sought the stand of both the parties, who were ready to extend "support" to his government.

"Congress had been saying they were giving unconditional support, while BJP constructive support. In political parlance, it means we won't let you run the government and in politics and love, nothing is unconditional, there are some conditions.

"They should stop playing politics and do some serious stuff and give their replies. If all the three parties -- BJP, Congress and AAP -- are ready, all the issues would be resolved within minutes," he said.

The AAP leader said they would go to the people with the replies of both the parties and "we would put it in public domain and also take it to them through public meetings and seek their opinion on whether we should form the government or not.

"We will conduct public meetings in 270 municipal wards, after getting the reply from Congress and BJP," he said, adding and if people will ask us to form the government then "we would do that and even show how a government is run".




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