New Delhi: Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Anna Hazare on Monday termed as "unfortunate" his justification for keeping his post out of the purview of the proposed Lokpal and wondered whether the "honest" person was telling lies.

Hazare questioned the government's intentions on the Lokpal Bill and said he was ready to go to jail if he was not allowed to demanding a strong anti-corruption law.

He made it clear that he was not insisting on undertaking the fast at Jantar Mantar because for him the issue is more important than the venue.

Addressing a press conference here, the noted civil rights activist reacted strongly to the Prime Minister's justification of keeping his post out of the ambit of Lokpal.

"This statement is unfortunate. Till now, the people of the country and me too felt that we have an honest and non-corrupt Prime Minister," Hazare said.

"..our fight is not against Parliament but against the government. I have written a letter to him (PM) and even after that if he is saying this, it is unfortunate. Many people in the government are telling lies. The Prime Minister was a good person and even if he is telling lies then what will happen," he said but did not elaborate.

Singh on Sunday said bringing the office of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal would "not be advisable" and government has taken the decision after "taking all factors into account". He had earlier favoured inclusion of the office of Prime Minister under Lokpal.

Asked what he would do if the police denies him permission to stage protest in Jantar Mantar, Hazare said he would not insist on sitting at the site. "If they can provide a place where people can reach, where all amenities are provided, then we can go there.

"I don't want people to say that Anna is stubborn on this. Our issue is not Jantar Mantar, our issue is Lokpal," he said.

Rubbishing suggestions that he was trying to blackmail the government, he said, "It is not that I am very happy to go to fast. Government is forcing us to sit on fast. Why doesn’t the government bring a strong Lokpal Bill?"

Hazare said scams would not have taken place if the government listens to the voice of people. "We would not have A Raja committing such corruption if the government had listened to the voice of people," he said.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said police has not informed them about rejection of permission for conducting the protest at Jantar Mantar.

Hazare, who addressed the press to give out results of "referendum" conducted by the civil activists in Chandni Chowk constituency of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, said overwhelming 85 per cent of people favoured (their version) Jan Lokpal Bill.

He attacked Sibal for alleging that the "referendum" was carried out by Sangh Parivar.

"They sometimes link me with RSS, sometimes with BJP. Never in my life I had linked myself with anyone. We have leaders who have hump. I am a self-made person," said the activist who hails from Maharashtra.

Claiming that the "interim" results of the referendum showed that an overwhelming 85 per cent of 72,000 responses counted so far was in favour of Jan Lokpal Bill, Hazare said he favoured a national referendum on the issue.

PIL in SC to restrain Anna


A petition had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to restrain activist Anna Hazare from going on a fast on Lokpal bill issue from August 16, saying his demands are "unconstitutional" and amount to "interference in legislative process".

Hazare, a member of Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee, has announced that he will launch an indefinite fast from August 16 protesting exclusion of Prime Minister and higher judiciary from the purview of the anti-graft legislation.

Hemant Patil, a Maharashtra-based social worker and businessman, has sought the apex court's direction to prohibit Hazare from undertaking the stir, saying "threatening and declaring to go on strike for fulfillment of unconstitutional demand of accepting his proposed Lokpal Bill tantamount to interference in legislative process".

The petitioner contended that Hazare's demand for bringing higher judiciary within Lokpal's purview is also unconstitutional.

"Hazare's act of insisting on illegal demand of inclusion of higher judiciary in the draft of Lokpal Bill assailing decision of Union Cabinet is in total contravention of constitutional fundamentals which retain the independence of judiciary having high standards of impeccable integrity as guardians of rule of law," he said.

Cong dares Anna to contest from Chandni Chowk

Meanwhile, Congress on Monday dared social activist Anna Hazare to contest from Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat here after the latter released findings of his team's survey in Union Minister Kapil Sibal's constituency on the Lokpal issue.

"I had heard about his survey...he could contest the next Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Chandni Chowk. Truth will clearly come out then," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters dismissing the civil society members' initiative.

He was responding to questioins on the claims of the Team Hazare that an overwhelming 85 per cent of people surveyed in the area favoured (their version) Jan Lokpal Bill.

Hazare's team carried out a four-day survey on Lokpal bill there. Hazare, who addressed the press today to give out its results of the survey, claimed its "interim" results showed 85 per cent of 72,000 responses counted so far was in favour of Jan Lokpal Bill.

Another activist Arvind Kejriwal said "seeing these results the question arises, does Kapil Sibal still represent the people of his constituency?"

Tewari, however, said Anna and his friends should have "faith in the wisdom and discretion of Parliament" once the government tables the Lokpal bill in the House. "You can do surveys. But you cannot play with the basic structure of the Constitution," he said.

(Agencies)