With anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare’s team claiming that more than 90% of the people — who took part in their referendum in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi constituency — supported its version of the Lokpal bill, the party once again challenged Hazare to contest elections.
“As far as his survey is concerned, he should take a chance from Chandni Chowk first. He could go to Amethi later,” said party spokesman Manish Tewari, reacting to the claims made by Hazare’s team about huge public support for their Jan Lokpal bill.
The latest slugfest between the Congress and Hazare’s team came on a day when the anti-corruption activist-led India Against Corruption (IAC) said that out of one lakh forms distributed by their volunteers, the results from 83,000 of these showed an overwhelming support for their version of the anti-graft bill.
The development comes ahead of the much publicized announcement by Hazare to go on an indefinite fast from Tuesday, demanding withdrawal of the Lokpal bill introduced by the government in the Lok Sabha.
The tussle over the venue for the fast continued despite clearance given by the Delhi Police to hold the fast in Jai Prakash Narayan park in the capital near Feroze Shah Kotla ground.
“We were told to get a clearance from the CPWD, which has referred the matter to urban development minister, Kamal Nath, we have not heard anything from the minister,” a spokesperson for the IAC said.
Hazare team also sought to play down the differences among them about the inclusion of the Prime Minister and the higher judiciary in the Lokpal. Hazare’s colleague, Arvind Kejriwal said swami Agnivesh had been quoted out of context.
Agnivesh had told a TV channel on Wednesday that their team was flexible on these two issues, but his colleagues had contradicted him.