Activist Anna Hazare on Monday demanded the resignation of telecom minister Kapil Sibal from the joint committee to draft the lokpal bill for his reported remarks doubting the effectiveness of the proposed anti-graft law.
Sibal, however, downplayed the controversy saying he was misquoted and that he would sit with Hazare to draft a strong anti-graft law.
Asked about the minister’s reported statement, Hazare said: “If Sibal feels nothing will happen due to the lokpal bill then he should resign rom the joint committee as soon as possible.” The veteran Gandhian said if that was Sibal’s view, then he should not waste anybody’s time. “He should do other things for the country. Why does he want to be in the committee...” Hazare said before leaving for Maharashtra.
On Sunday, Sibal had reportedly said:“... If a poor child does not have any means for education, then how will the lokpal bill help? If a poor man needs help for medical services then he will call up a politician. How will Lokpal Bill help?”
Following Hazare’s demand, Sibal adopted a conciliatory approach and said he was with the activist on the issue and wanted the bill to be drafted as early as possible and to be effective in tackling corruption everywhere.
Clarifying his earlier remarks, the minister said he had meant the scope of the bill was different and remedies for the problems faced by the common man were to be addressed differently.
“I had said that if you want to educate children, this has no connection to lokpal....It will curb corruption and we will bring a good bill to put an end to that menace.”
The BJP also took the chance to attack Sibal. Party spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said the minister, who had made controversial statements on the 2G scam, had made a habit of saying something and retracting it later. “The kind of statements he is making does not instill confidence,” she said.