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Hazare sets Aug 15 deadline for Lokpal Bill

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, April 10 � Gandhian Anna Hazare today threatened to revert to agitation if an effective Lokpal legislation is not enacted by August 15 and dismissed criticism that he had resorted to �blackmail�, saying he would continue to do so in public interest, reports PTI.

While Hazare said he will revive his agitation if the Bill is �again delayed� in Parliament, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who was sharing dais with him at a press conference here, said the 73-year-old Gandhian will go on a fast if the Bill is not passed by August 15.

At the same time, Hazare reaffirmed his faith in Parliament, rule of law and democracy. But for these, the country would not have achieved so much progress in six decades, he said, and stressed that what he was attempting was to involve people in drafting of laws for common good.

�If the government again delays the bill in Parliament after preparation of the draft, we will launch the agitation once again...The bill was brought before Parliament eight times in 42 years but it could not be enacted. Then what is the way out except agitation,� he said.

Hazare, who called off his fast-unto-death demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill yesterday, said, �There is a criticism that I am indulging in blackmail. People may say so. I will continue to do this blackmail till my last breath for people�s good...I am doing this for the benefit of the country.�

Asked whether the civil society would agree to any amendment to the draft bill proposed by the joint committee, he said they were open to �good� amendments to the bill.

�If there is a good suggestion, we will accept. We are seeking people�s views on the provisions of the bill.... We would accept even if Parliament makes a good amendment to improve the bill,� he said.

He claimed that the government which was initially not amenable to accepting their demands agreed to it only after anti-corruption protesters received people�s support for their cause.

�Many people ask me do you have no faith in our Parliament that you have launched the agitation. I have full faith in Parliament. We have accepted democracy,� he said, at the same time underlining that people are the masters in democracy and lawmakers are their servants.

�Make tough laws on the basis of which breaks can be applied on corruption. If you do not do it, people who are the real owners of democracy will make you do it,� he said.

He expressed the hope that a draft prepared by consensus would not face any �big problem� in getting through the cabinet and parliament as five senior ministers are part of the drafting panel.

Bedi said the civil society wanted a stronger bill and was open to �positive� suggestions.

At the same time, Bedi made it clear that if the bill was not passed by August 15, the deadline set by Hazare, then the Gandhian will again go on a fast.

�August 15 is our deadline. Either we celebrate that day or Anna again goes on fast,� she said.

Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the ten-member joint drafting committee, said that they will see to it that the new draft goes to the level of gram sabha so that even villagers can give their suggestions on the bill.

Insisting on transparency, Hazare said that there should be video recording of the proceedings of joint committee and later its CDs should be made available to public.

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Hazare sets Aug 15 deadline for Lokpal Bill

NEW DELHI, April 10 � Gandhian Anna Hazare today threatened to revert to agitation if an effective Lokpal legislation is not enacted by August 15 and dismissed criticism that he had resorted to �blackmail�, saying he would continue to do so in public interest, reports PTI.

While Hazare said he will revive his agitation if the Bill is �again delayed� in Parliament, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who was sharing dais with him at a press conference here, said the 73-year-old Gandhian will go on a fast if the Bill is not passed by August 15.

At the same time, Hazare reaffirmed his faith in Parliament, rule of law and democracy. But for these, the country would not have achieved so much progress in six decades, he said, and stressed that what he was attempting was to involve people in drafting of laws for common good.

�If the government again delays the bill in Parliament after preparation of the draft, we will launch the agitation once again...The bill was brought before Parliament eight times in 42 years but it could not be enacted. Then what is the way out except agitation,� he said.

Hazare, who called off his fast-unto-death demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill yesterday, said, �There is a criticism that I am indulging in blackmail. People may say so. I will continue to do this blackmail till my last breath for people�s good...I am doing this for the benefit of the country.�

Asked whether the civil society would agree to any amendment to the draft bill proposed by the joint committee, he said they were open to �good� amendments to the bill.

�If there is a good suggestion, we will accept. We are seeking people�s views on the provisions of the bill.... We would accept even if Parliament makes a good amendment to improve the bill,� he said.

He claimed that the government which was initially not amenable to accepting their demands agreed to it only after anti-corruption protesters received people�s support for their cause.

�Many people ask me do you have no faith in our Parliament that you have launched the agitation. I have full faith in Parliament. We have accepted democracy,� he said, at the same time underlining that people are the masters in democracy and lawmakers are their servants.

�Make tough laws on the basis of which breaks can be applied on corruption. If you do not do it, people who are the real owners of democracy will make you do it,� he said.

He expressed the hope that a draft prepared by consensus would not face any �big problem� in getting through the cabinet and parliament as five senior ministers are part of the drafting panel.

Bedi said the civil society wanted a stronger bill and was open to �positive� suggestions.

At the same time, Bedi made it clear that if the bill was not passed by August 15, the deadline set by Hazare, then the Gandhian will again go on a fast.

�August 15 is our deadline. Either we celebrate that day or Anna again goes on fast,� she said.

Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the ten-member joint drafting committee, said that they will see to it that the new draft goes to the level of gram sabha so that even villagers can give their suggestions on the bill.

Insisting on transparency, Hazare said that there should be video recording of the proceedings of joint committee and later its CDs should be made available to public.

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