Ahmedabad: Social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday requested Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi to enact a law empowering gram sabhas in decision making regarding village land.

Hazare, accompanied by Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal, made the appeal during a public hearing by various civil society groups, held at Gujarat Vidyapeeth here.

He also urged Modi for quick appointment of Lokayukta in Gujarat.

“After hearing so many of you all I see (are) scams, that too in the land of Mahatma Gandhi,” Hazare said at the end of the public hearing.

The anti-corruption crusader said the gram sabhas (village councils), which are the roots of society, are needed to be strengthened in Gujarat on grounds of Maharashtra, adding that they only build the legislature.

“I would like to make two appeals to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. First is to appoint the Lokayukta in the state, and second to bring in a legislation that would empower the gram sabhas in taking decisions related to the village, especially those dealing with the village land,” Hazare said.

He said after the drive to weed out corruption, his next assignment would be against land acquisition and he wanted it to start from Gujarat.
“Gram Sabhas should be so empowered that no transaction related to the village land could be done without their permission. And I think this movement should start from Gujarat,” he added.

Hazare said the country may face threat from Pakistan, but it faces more grievous threat from enemies within the country.

He also warned the Union government of repeating Delhi agitation of April 5, if it tries to delay Jan Lokpal Bill.

Another member of the Jan Lok Pal Bill drafting team, Swami Agnivesh, said the public hearing has exposed the false claims of Gujarat government over development.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is making use of American media agencies to paint a false picture of what was exactly happening in Gujarat, he alleged.

Gujarat is not vibrant as shown by Modi. Gujarat is the land of scams. Gandhi’s Gujarat is now ‘Ghotale ka Gujarat’ (state of scams),” Agnivesh said.

Arvind Kejriwal said if farmers’ land was forcefully acquired by government for industrialists it could lead to a civil war.