Don't doubt my commitment: Sonia tells Anna
Responding to Anna Hazare's complaint against her "colleagues", Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday assured him that she does not support "politics of smear campaign" and that she was strongly committed to the institution of Lokpal.
Writing to Hazare, the chairperson of National Advisory Council, said she believed there was "urgent necessity" to combat graft and corruption and he should not doubt her commitment in the fight for probity in public life.
She was replying to Hazare's letter sent on Monday in which the social activist said a "smear" campaign had been launched against civil society members of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill and asked her to advise her "colleagues" not to try to derail the process of drafting of law.
Sonia's letter to Hazare has been reproduced below:
Dear Anna Hazare Ji,
Thank you for your letter of April 18, 2011
Let me reiterate what I wrote to you earlier, that I believe there is an urgent necessity to combat graft and corruption. You should have no doubt of my commitment in the fight for probity in public life. I strongly support the institution of a Lokpal that is consistent with the practices and conventions of our parliamentary democracy.
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Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
'Lokpal Bill was very much a part of the NAC agenda'
The Lokpal Bill was very much a part of the agenda of the National Advisory Council.
As you know the NAC Working Group on Transparency, Accountability and Governance under the convenership of Ms Aruna Roy held consultations on this subject on April 4 with several representatives of civil society including Shri Shanti Bhushan, Shri Santosh Hegde and Shri Prashant Bhushan who are now on the joint committee, as well as Swami Agnivesh and Shri Arvind Kejriwal, who have been closely associated with you.
The working group had decided to hold further consultations and evolve broad principles for discussion and approval in the next meeting of the NAC scheduled for April 28.
What Anna had asked Sonia in his letter
In fact in your letter of April 8, which my office received at around noon on the date, you yourself said:
"I wish to bring to your notice that the sub-committee of your National Advisory Council (NAC) has agreed with the broad content of Jan Lokpal Bill, barring two issues, after extensive discussions on April 4 with various knowledgeable sections of society.
"May I request you to kindly get the draft discussed at full meeting of NAC at the earliest and recommend the outcome to the government."
'I do not support not encourage the politics of smear campaigns'
As I have just mentioned, this is the very course that the NAC was following until the process was, as you know, overtaken by subsequent events.
As for statements appearing in the media, let me assure you that I do not support not encourage the politics of smear campaigns.
With good wishes,