With social activist Anna Hazare once again writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, this time setting a December 21 deadline for Parliament to pass the Lokpal bill, the government on Tuesday said it saw "no reason for such a warning" from him, as it was committed to "a strong, effective and powerful" anti-graft law.
"I do not see any reason for bringing pressure on the government, as the parliamentary affairs minister, the leader of the Lok Sabha, Congress leaders and the prime minister himself have repeatedly emphasised that a strong, effective and powerful instrument like the Lokpal will be put in place," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in New Delhi.
She said Hazare and his associates had often talked about waiting till the winter session of Parliament to take up the Lokpal bill and this was repeated during the just concluded Lok Sabha by-poll to the Hisar seat in Haryana too.
"This matter has been stated by Anna Hazare and his associates several times before. During the Hisar by-poll, when they participated in the political campaign, they said it was one way of bringing pressure on the government to strengthen the anti-graft law," she said.
Noting that a parliamentary standing committee was examining the Lokpal bill and was expediting the process of consultations on the bill with social and political activists, she said the government too had on several occasions expressed its commitment on getting the law enacted at the earliest.
"In this situation, I do not understand the need for repeating their (Team Anna's) warning often," she said.
Hazare, in his letter to the prime minister on Tuesday, said: "I had adjourned my fast and agitation (in August) due to your assurance."
"If a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the winter session, I will start that agitation from the last day of (the) winter session," Hazare said.
On the issue of illegal money stashed abroad, Soni said the government was making all-out efforts to get information and the names of account holders from the foreign countries, for which bilateral agreements were required.
"The government has taken some initiatives in this regard," she added.