Ahead of his day-long fast for a strong Lokpal bill, Anna Hazare on Saturday launched a vitriolic attack on the government, charging that it was "intoxicated" by power and said the "second fight for independence" has started which will go on till corruption is eradicated.
On arriving in Delhi, Team Anna addressed a press conference at the Press Club and lashed out at the government, stating that the government does not intend to make India corruption free.
Before leaving for Delhi where he will hold the fast, Hazare said, "So many martyrs lost their lives for our independence but even today we cannot experience independence. Who got independent. What independence. Corruption, loot is still here. Only 'goras' left and 'kalas' came in, that is the only difference."
"So the second fight for independence has started, it is a long fight, till corruption gets eradicated, it will go on. Many people will have to got to jail again, be lathicharged, some will have to sacrifice, that time is here now. Till we sacrifice, we won't get the right independence," Hazare told reporters in Ralegan Siddhi.
Keenly observed by government and people, the activist will sit at Jantar Mantar, the protest hotspot in the national capital, the whole day along with his supporters demanding a strong anti-corruption law.
Hitting out at the government, Hazare said, "This government is intoxicated by power and money. It cannot see anything else. They have forgotten the sacrifices by the likes of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Like a drunk man becomes unconscious, similarly the government is unconscious.
"It is our job to get them into their senses. This in only a day-long agitation, after December 27, it will be a long agitation. Today that you all are here, I am energised," he said.
This will be Hazare's second protest at Jantar Mantar on the issue, the first being the hugely successful five-day fast from April five which forced the government to set up a joint committee of government and activists to draft Lokpal Bill. Team Anna and police expect a large turn out at the venue and adequate police personnel are being deployed at the spot.
Some of Hazare's detractors are also planning to stage protest at the same site and raise questions to him but have not received the permission for any demonstration.
Hazare has raised the decibel on the issue, bringing Rahul Gandhi under the line of fire and repeating that it was the Congress scion who was behind the watered-down proposals of parliamentary standing committee on Lokpal.
He has also warned the government that if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing winter session of parliament, he will sit on an indefinite fast from December 27 at Ramlila Maidan here and campaign against it in the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
The 74-year-old activist, who had gone on his second fast in Ramlila Maidan in August for the same issue, has been demanding inclusion of lower bureaucracy under the ambit of Lokpal besides provisions for citizen's charter and setting up Lokayuktas under a central law.
However, the government as well as standing committee have rejected his demands though parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal has asked him to wait till parliament passes the bill to launch any agitation.
Hazare has accused the standing committee on Lokpal of fooling people on the issue while his supporters questioned its credibility claiming that only 12 of the 30 MPs supported its proposals and that its proposals will not help in fighting graft.
"The issues remain the same. This means the standing committee has fooled the public. Their report does not help in fighting corruption," Hazare said.
He has also questioned the Standing Committee proposal to bring lower bureaucracy under the ambit of state Lokayuktas saying it was against the resolution passed by parliament.
However, Hazare appeared to have relented on the issue of inclusion of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal, saying one has to accept what parliament decides on the issue.
His close aide Arvind Kejriwal has said, "Standing committee had 30 members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report is supported by balance 12. Seven are from Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati's BSP. So much for credibility of this report."
(With PTI inputs)