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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Anna wants law by Aug 15

Nagendar Sharma & Saroj Nagi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 09, 2011
First Published: 23:35 IST(9/4/2011) | Last Updated: 07:22 IST(10/4/2011)

Fresh from his victory on the redrafting of the Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare on Saturday set a deadline of August 15 for the government to get it passed in both Houses of Parliament.

The crusader ended his four-day fast with a clear hint that he was in no mood to relent, and asked his supporters to be ready for bigger struggles in future.

"Our fight against corruption does not end here. This is only the beginning. If the government does not get the Lokpal Bill passed till August 15, I will join you people here for another agitation," he said. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/090411/10_04_11-metro-1.jpg

Next on Hazare's radar are electoral reforms.

"We want a right to recall public servants like sarpanch and corporator if they fail in their duty," he said.

Seizing the initiative from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had outlined a four-point plan to tackle corruption in December, the Gandhian also attacked electronic voting machines, terming them faulty and demanded a "none of the above" provision for the voter.

In a last minute development on Friday night, the Centre even conceded to the demand for an official notification on the formation of a 10-member joint committee, something it resisted for two days since it did not want to set a tricky precedent.

Satisfied with the turn of events, which culminated with Hazare ending his fast, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government would like to introduce the Bill during the monsoon session of Parliament.

"I hope the process of preparing this legislation will move forward in a constructive mode so that… the legislation is placed before the cabinet for introduction during the monsoon session," he said in a statement.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee praised the PM for his promptness in accepting Hazare's demands.

"The Prime Minister is very much alert and proactive. He is taking appropriate action," he said.

The Opposition continued to support Hazare. BJP president Nitin Gadkari pledged his party's support to the Bill during the monsoon session.

TDP president Chandrababu Naidu described the progress on the Bill as a victory for the people.

The Nationalist Congress Party, whose chief Sharad Pawar had to step down from the group of ministers on corruption because of Hazare's campaign, however, did not agree with Hazare's method.

"Corruption is undoubtedly a burning issue facing the country… But the way adopted by the Gandhian leader was not the right way," said NCP's Tariq Anwar.

However, the support of political parties to the issue gave confidence to former minister and co-chairman of the joint drafting committee, Shanti Bhushan, that the Bill would be passed "unanimously" by Parliament.

Any party opposing it, he said, would be seen as "not interested in removing corruption".

Hazare, who was earlier this week accused of playing into the hands of some political parties, continued to attack politicians.

"Power hungry politicians will not easily accept any Bill with stringent provisions against corruption or shed the power they enjoy," he said.

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