New Delhi: Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, 74, is all set to sit on an indefinate fast from July 29 along with his team members at Jantar Mantar to push for a strong Lokpal Bill. Taking on the government, Anna and his associates at a press conference on Monday evening said that the government has given several assurances on curbing corruption but there has been no positive outcome.
Anna’s close associate Arvind Kejriwal alleged that President-elect Pranab Mukherjee and 15 central ministers including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were corrupt and the government is doing nothing to prosecute them. Calling it a do-or-die situation, Kejriwal said, “Pranab Mukherjee is also among the 15 corrupt ministers. It’s unfortunate he will become the President tomorrow.”
Kejriwal added, “We appeal to all countrymen to fast along with us tomorrow.”
“All those parties who supported Pranab have betrayed the country. 162 MPs in Lok Sabha and 39 MPs in Rajya Sabha have cases of corruption against them. Fast-track courts should be made to dispose off such cases against them,” demanded Kejriwal.
Alleging that the government is trying to divide his team, Anna said he wants the Lokpal Bill to be brought immediately.
Team Anna will undertake its indefinate protest fast from July 25 with Anna joining on July 29 as he wants to give the government time till then to act on his demands. “The aim is to campaign for a Lokpal Bill…the government is only giving us assurances, but takes no action,” Anna said.
Anna has also threatened to organise a jail bharo campaign if his demands aren’t met in three to four days. “I will fast this time. We had earlier decided that I will not sit on a fast. But seeing the enthusiasm of people, I felt I should also sit on the fast,” said Anna.
He wants a Special Investigation Team to probe corruption allegations against Union Ministers, a fast track court to try cases against MPs and a strong Lokpal Bill.
A Team Anna spokesperson on Tuesday said Hazare will sit on an indefinite hunger strike along with Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai from Wednesday.
Earlier, Hazare had announced that he will not sit on fast owing to health problems while his three Team Anna members will go on hunger strike to demand setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe corruption allegations levelled by them against Ministers, a fast track court to try cases against MPs and for bringing a strong Lokpal Bill.
The reversal of his decision seems to be part of a Team Anna strategy to step up pressure on the government and drum up support for the protest at Jantar Mantar, the dharna hot spot in the national capital.
The renewed agitation comes just two weeks before the monsoon session of Parliament begins. The team has got permission to fast at Jantar Mantar till Aug 8, the day the monsoon session of parliament is expected to begin.
The team will be organising an indefinite fast at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar from Wednesday, the day when Pranab Mukherjee will be sworn-in as the President. Arvind Kejriwal will be leading the agitation this time, Team Anna had said.