New Delhi: Anna Hazare on Tuesday stuck to his August 30 deadline for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill and asked his supporters to intensify the protest by gheraoing the houses of Parliamentarians if the government failed to do so. Nine opposition parties stage protest (JPN/Agencies)
Addressing his supporters after nearly a break of 40 hours, Hazare, who entered the second week of his fast, accused the government of betraying all along the civil society on the issue of a strong Lokpal Bill.
Hazare told the gathering at Ramlila Maidan that protesters in thousands should protest outside the residences of MPs if the government fails to get Jan Lokpal Bill passed by August 30.
"Now, 25-30 people are sitting on dharnas in front of MPs' residences. If the government does not pass the bill by August 30, we have to intensify the protest. Protesters in thousands should gherao the residences of MPs then," he said.
Alleging that a few people in the government were "betraying" them, he said, "They betrayed us during the meetings of Joint Committee (on Lokpal bill).
"I feel there are only 5-6 people in the government who are running the country and if such people, who do not have a social or national perspective, run the nation, then what will happen to this country...This is something to worry about," Hazare said.
"Even if Lokpal comes and if such traitors run the country, what will happen. This is the question which is bothering me," the 73-year-old Gandhian said.
He said he was watching for the past four months after the government set up the Joint Committee for drafting Lokpal bill. "Even there some people in the government were traitors, they tried to betray us," he said.
The remarks came amidst indications from both the government and Team Anna about willingness to have talks on the issue with the civil society members demanding nomination of an official representative for the purpose. They have suggested that the government either withdraw the official bill or amend it by including provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
"Let the government mandate somebody officially. We are waiting for a political dialogue.
Today there is need for a political dialogue. It is not a technical issue. It is not a bureaucratic issue. It is a political problem," Hazare's close aide, Arvind Kejriwal said.
"There has to be a political solution rather than saying go and make your case to the Standing Committee. That is not the way," he said
He said officially they have not got any proposal from government.
Asked about various proposals being talked about, Kejriwal said, "There are two options. The government can withdraw its bill and introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill or the government can bring amendments to the existing bill. The government should make a list on the points it agrees or disagrees on".
However, Kejriwal said Hazare has not insisted that he will talk only with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or the Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Team Anna is maintaining that no formal talks have begun even as close aides of spiritual leader Bhayyuji Maharaj handed over a fresh 11-point proposal to Hazare late in the night. However, they could not meet the Gandhian as he was sleeping.
Kejriwal said government should look into the 22 points on which there are disagreements and say which ones are acceptable.
Demanding a strong Lokpal Bill against corruption, nine 'non-NDA' opposition parties including the Left, TDP and Rashtriya Lok Dal staged a protest at the main gate of the Parliament.
"Nine parties have launched a country-wide agitation. We want the government to come forward with a strong Lokpal Bill," CPI leader D Raja told reporters here.
Holding placards, leaders of the four Left parties along with leaders of the RLD, TDP, JD (Secular), AIADMK and the BJD including former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Ajit Singh (RLD) and Nama Nageshwar Rao (TDP) raised slogans in support of their demand here.
"Government Lokpal Bill is not effective and we need an effective Lokpal. The Parliamentary process is on and it has been referred to the Standing Committee. All the nine parties will take up this issue through Parliamentary procedures as well as popular protest outside for an effective Lokpal," Yechury said.
On the statements made by the Prime Minister on the Lokpal issue, he said, "The Prime Minister is making all sorts of statements outside. The session is on and things should not be said outside. I think this is undermining the supremacy of the Parliament and that can't be allowed."
"It is for the Prime Minister to come out and say what he thinks here. Whatever the Prime Minister and other Ministers are saying should be said officially in the Parliament so that we can have a debate here," he said.
Meanwhile, Om Prakash Yadav, an independent MP from Siwan, sat on a dharna near Mahatma Gandhi's statue inside the Parliament House complex in support of Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill.
The MP, who is supporting the government, said he will discuss the issue with the people in his constituency and he may also consider withdrawing his support.
New Delhi: Anna Hazare on Tuesday stuck to his August 30 deadline for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill and asked his supporters to intensify the protest by gheraoing the houses of Parliamentarians if the government failed to do so.
Nine opposition parties stage protest