Eight months after his five-day fast at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar brought corruption into national focus, social activist Anna Hazare returned to the same venue on Sunday and shared the stage with senior opposition leaders, who backed his key demands on the lokpal bill.
Amid loud cheering and clapping by an impressive turnout of thousands of people, leaders of non-UPA parties, led by the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley strongly demanded that the Prime Minister and lower bureaucracy be brought under the lokpal’s ambit.
In contrast to Hazare’s previous fasts in April and August, the day-long fast on Sunday reflected the realisation in his team that strong language against the entire political class would not work any longer.
CPI general secretary AB Bardhan and SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav bluntly told Team Anna that it should not expect their jan lokpal bill to be accepted by Parliament in its entirety. Both were jeered by the crowd for their candid comments.
Setting the tone for a two-hour debate, Jaitley slammed the parliamentary panel which examined the lokpal bill, saying it had violated the “sense of the House” resolution passed by Parliament on August 27.
The very basic principles of having a strong lokpal should not be tampered with. Including the lower bureaucracy and citizens' charter in the lokpal (institution) was the sense of the House… It is breaking the promise you had given to the nation, to Parliament,” he said.
Yadav attacked the government for “misusing” the CBI for political gains. “The keys of the CBI are always with the ruling party. It is a very dangerous thing and has to be reversed,” he said.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said the proposed anti-graft law should also cover corporate corruption. “We should also focus on corruption in the corporate world. We should not forget the loot by the corporate world,” she said.