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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Will call off fast if lokpal bill gets RS nod: Anna

Satyajit Joshi, Hindustan Times  Ralegan Siddhi, December 15, 2013
First Published: 10:13 IST(15/12/2013) | Last Updated: 12:40 IST(15/12/2013)

Welcoming the draft of lokpal bill moved in Rajya Sabha, social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday announced that he will call off his hunger strike after it is passed in the Rajya Sabha.

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Minutes after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s press conference in Delhi, Hazare wholeheartedly welcomed provisions of lokpal bill and said most of his demands were satisfied. He also hoped that government would move separate bills on citizens charter and protection to whistle blowers as promised.

Hazare said his main contentions on lokpal were inclusion of Prime Minister, CBI control, inclusion of class two and three officers and constitution of lokpal. All these issues have been addressed properly, he said.

Hazare, however, did not give up the opportunity to take a dig at both Rahul Gandhi and AAP.

Ridiculing Gandhi’s claim that Congress brought Right to Information (RTI), which is fundamental in curbing corruption, Hazare remarked, “Rahul Gandhi is not aware about his struggle for RTI. I had fought for RTI for eight years before the central government brought it in 2005. I have written a book on the subject and will send a copy to Rahul Gandhi”.

Hazare also once again distanced himself from AAP, which has threatened to launch a separate agitation if Lokpal bill is diluted. “It is up to AAP to take a decision. It is a political party now and they can take independent decisions,” Hazare added.

Developments in Delhi a day after when AAP leader Gopal Rai was asked to leave Ralegan, has boosted the Hazare camp.

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