‘Present Lokpal Bill a danger to democracy’

Social activist Anna Hazare who broke his fast on Wednesday, rejected the notion that lack of public support led to the agitation being called off. “I don’t have power or wealth. Still people are coming in big numbers and you will see them again when we campaign during elections,” he said.

After repeated questions on whether he felt ditched by the BJP, Mr. Hazare abruptly quit the dais, leaving Mr. Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia to field questions.

Alleging that the present Bill was a danger to democracy as it protected the corrupt instead, Mr. Kejriwal said: “This is only a UPA Bill as 55 amendments were proposed by the Opposition and only one amendment was accepted.

Nine other amendments that were accepted were that of the ruling party. And an amendment is designed to weaken the Bill.

From removing the Army from purview of the Lokpal to abolishing the 6 month deadline to resolve complaints,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Counting the amendments that Team Anna wanted in the Lok Pal Bill, Mr. Kejriwal said: “The CBI has been misused by the government to harass the Opposition and must be set free. The selection and suspension of the Lokpal should be in the hands of the public not a five-member committee of the government.”

He also insisted on the need for a citizen’s charter to outline stipulated time for any departmental work and providing the Lokpal, instead of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the infrastructure to give protection to whistle blowers

An escape route

Talking about the shortcomings in the Bill, Mr. Kejriwal said: “Earlier one could raid or file FIRs against the accused but now one will have to serve notice to the accused, showing the full evidence and giving the accused a chance to find an escape route.

“Moreover, the government will pay the legal fees for the accused. Only five percent of government employees come under the Bill but all registered bodies like private schools, colleges, clubs, societies, religious groups and non-governmental organisations will be under the purview.

‘No respect for the public’

“For nearly 9 months people are on the streets but the government has sent a message that it does not care for the public.”

“Our elected representatives do not consider the public’s demand but follow the wishes of the party high command…from Britishers the rule has passed on to the party high command and we now have a long fight ahead of us to get freedom in the true sense.”

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