RALEGAN SIDDHI (MAHARASHTRA): Taking on the Congress, social crusader Anna Hazare said here Tuesday that he would resume his movement for a strong anti-graft Jan Lokpal bill after Dussehra and begin with the Oct 13 Lok Sabha by-election in Hisar, Haryana.
“Depending on my schedule, I shall go to Hisar and hold a couple of public meetings there. If not I shall send a video message to the people of Hisar explaining how the Congress has blocked the Jan Lokpal (ombudsman) bill and urge them not to vote for the party,” Hazare declared at a press conference here.
He said civil society activists had written to all the major candidates contesting the Hisar by-poll asking them whether they supported the Jan Lokpal bill or not.
“While a majority of them have already replied in the affirmative, there is no response from the Congress. If the Congress does not clarify its stand in the next couple of days, then after Dussehra (Oct 6), I plan to go to Hisar,” Hazare warned.
The agitation would then be taken to Uttar Pradesh and four other states where assembly elections are due to force the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to “live up to its promise” of passing Team Anna’s version of the Lokpal bill, he said.
“If, as the UPA has assured, the bill is not passed during the ensuing winter session of parliament, we shall name the Congress and urge the people not to vote for it,” Hazare asserted.
He also announced that he would sit on a three-day hunger strike in Lucknow – three days before polling begins in Uttar Pradesh – to create awareness on the bill and the “attempts by the Congress to scuttle it”.
Hazare said if the Jan Lokpal bill is passed then they would not hold any agitations.
Instead, they would appeal to the people to check the antecedents of the candidates and vote for the good ones only.
Hazare and his close aide Arvind Kejriwal made it clear that civil society was not interested in contesting elections, but would make all out efforts to support “good, clean candidates” irrespective of their party affiliations.
Asked to comment on the reservations of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on the Jan Lokpal bill, Kejriwal said after parliament passes the bill, “her opinions would not matter since she also would be compelled to implement it”.
Hazare’s 288-hour long fast in August for inclusion of a stronger anti-corruption bill at Ramlila Maidan in the national capital had garnered support of thousands of supporters across the country. The Jan Lokpal bill as well as other versions of the Lokpal bill are presently under consideration of the Parliament Standing Committee.