Mumbai: Social activist Anna Hazare is beginning a month-long statewide tour from Shirdi on Tuesday to create public awareness on the need for a strong Lokayukta legislation in Maharashtra.

Hazare will arrive at Shirdi at around 4 pm and begin his tour after seeking blessings of Saibaba, an associate said. He is also likely to address media in the evening, he added.

Last month, Hazare had written a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and threatened to launch a people's movement in the state unless the government brings in a strong Lokayukta Bill to give more teeth to the state ombudsman.

"When you took over as the CM, we thought you will enact strong laws to curb corruption. On the contrary, corruption has increased in the state," Hazare's letter said.

In the letter dated April 12, Hazare demanded that a strong Lokayukta Bill be drafted by the government with the participation from civil society. In the state-wide tour, Hazare plans to educate people on the Lokayukta law and to ask them to be ready for an agitation if the government fails to bring a strong Lokayukta.

The activist, who had launched a 12-day fast in Delhi for a strong ombudsman to check corruption in the country, said Lokayukta in the state should get more powers.

"The government had promised to take strong action on various issues relating to corruption in a meeting with me and activist Medha Patkar in Nagpur. A year has passed, but the government has failed to keep the promises made in the meeting chaired by the chief minister. Government officials and ministers were also present in the meeting," his letter said.

"As the Union government had clarified its stand on the Lokayukta Act that it was the responsibility of the respective states to pass the bill, the onus to pass the bill lies on the state government," Hazare said.

Talking to media in Ahmednagar before he left for Shirdi on Tuesday morning, Hazare said his intention behind taking up the statewide tour on the Lokayukta issue is to bring about a change in the mindset of the people of the state.

"People need to combat the present corrupt system through Gandhian methods and should demand a strong Lokayukta in the state," Hazare said. In Ahmednagar, Hazare met Eknath Khadse, the Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra assembly. Khadse said his party (BJP) will pitch for strong Lokayukta in the state.

(Agencies)