RALEGAN SIDDHI: Social activist Mr Anna Hazare Tuesday put Congress on notice over the Lokpal issue, saying he will campaign against it in election-bound states if the Centre fails to get his version of the anti-corruption bill passed in the Parliament’s winter session.
To begin with, Mr Hazare said he will appeal to voters in Hisar Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana where bypolls are scheduled on October 13 not to vote for the Congress candidate as the party was “deliberately” not bringing the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“If the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed in the winter session, then I will name the Congress and ask people not to vote for it in the assembly polls scheduled in five states next year,” he said addressing a press conference in his native village, 50 km from Pune. He announced that he would begin his tour of five election-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur between October 13 and 15.
Mr Hazare, who had withdrawn his 12-day hunger strike at the Ramlila Maidan following assurances from the Centre that three of his main demands would be considered, made it clear that his agitation would be intensified across the country in the coming months. He said he will undertake a fast in Lucknow three days before election commences in Uttar Pradesh if the Centre does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament.
Mr Hazare said he has got letters from the BJP chief, Mr Nitin Gadkari and others supporting Jan Lokpal Bill but not any from Congress. The activist said he will wait for two more days for the letter from Congress and will start his campaign against them if the party fails to do so.
“We will oppose the Congress… They sent me to jail… Does it behove a government to attack innocents in Ramdev’s camp in Ramlila Maidan?” he asked. He said he will not ask people to vote for any particular candidate but appeal to them to vote for clean candidates. Asked whether he would support a clean candidate from Congress even if the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed in the winter session, Mr Hazare said he will appeal to people to vote for candidates other than from Congress.
“What is the purpose of a clean candidate if the party is not right? Is Manmohan Singh not clean? The problem is that he is remote-controlled,” he said. On asked if he feared that he would be targeted as a BJP supporter, Mr Hazare said those who raise such allegations should be sent to a mental hospital. “In my whole life, not a single instance has shown that I had been associated with BJP or RSS. I have never attended a single meeting (of BJP or RSS),” he said. Replying to a question, he said the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi’s decision to jail IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt was wrong.
Meanwhile, the Union Law Minister, Mr Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday that the government will bring the anti-corruption bill in the Parliament’s winter session. Reacting to Mr Hazare’s plan to campaign against Congress for the coming assembly elections, Mr Khurshid said he was not going to comment on anybody’s views about what should happen in the next election.