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'Make gram sabha more powerful'

delhi Updated: Jan 27, 2012 01:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Barely a month after he was forced to call off his hunger strike due to failing health and poor crowd response, social activist Anna Hazare on Thursday relaunched his campaign by demanding a fresh law to empower gram sabhas by placing them above parliament.

In a separate video appeal to voters of the five poll-bound states, Hazare praised Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri for making a strong lokayukta law in the hill state.

He has asked voters in these states to demand an affidavit from political parties that they will pass a law similar to the one introduced in Uttarakhand if voted to power.

In his video address to the Team Anna's seminar on the topic 'Rebuilding the Republic', Hazare asked the citizens to be ready for another big agitation on the lines of the Lokpal Bill movement, if the government did not bring a law for empowering village sabhas.

"Lok Sabha thinks it is above everyone. This is wrong. People have made you. So they are above you...It is the sacred temple of democracy. In such a sacred place, what has happened in Rajya Sabha in the last day (of the Winter Session) on the Lokpal Bill," Hazare said.

"The 550 people were giving their own suggestions. Nobody asked the people. So we need another law. Assemblies and Lok Sabha think that they are above gram sabhas. But gram sabhas are above you. We need a new law which gives such a power to gram sabhas," he said in his 30-minute address.

Arguing for strong gram sabhas, Hazare cited the acquisition process for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) saying the land owners in the villages do not know when the government acquires their land straightaway without their permission.

"We the masters were sleeping when the servants were looting our treasuries. Now we have awakened. If the government does not bring a law, we will have to organise an agitation similar to the August 16 (Ramlila Maidan) agitation for a strong Lokpal Bill," he said.