Crusaders' fusillade against netas

Jest and anecdotes pep up campaign against corruption

“Each of my fingers in the hand are weak by themselves. But if I put them together, I can knock 36 teeth out.”

These words, which sounded like music for the expectant crowd’s ears, set the stage for the sometimes combative speeches of the members of India Against Corruption at the public meeting at the National College Grounds in Basavangudi on Saturday.

“Fill up the jails. Going to jail is not a shame, but a matter of pride when you are fighting for a just cause,” said Anna Hazare, the septuagenarian crusader of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Often humorous, he said that breakfast and two meals were available even in the jail and people should participate in larger numbers. Reiterating his decision, he said that the draft for the Bill would be ready by June 30 and if the Bill was not approved by August 16, then he would go on a fast again at Jantar Mantar.

Exhorting the youth to take part in the movement, he said they would be leading him and not the other way around. There were anecdotes too. “Once a Minister gave a supari of Rs 30 lakh to kill me and my associate. But the killers said that they would kill my associate, but refused to kill me. The government initially gave me security. But, I said if my death comes while serving the nation, then I w ill be proud. Well, the government removed the security and now nobody is trying to kill me,” he said.

Ruing the state of affairs with the present bunch of politicians, Hazare said, “We are not trying to bring down the government. If we do so, then the person who comes to his (the incumbent’s) place will be his brother. I am responsible for two governments falling in Maharashtra. One fell and then the other, after some time, went on the same track. If the first government was trying to be a graduate, then the second one was trying to be a doctorate,” he said.

The Prime Minster was not spared either. “The leader is alright. He is good. But he is being operated by remote control,” Hazare said. Union Home Minister Chidambaram came in for criticism as well. Arvind Kejriwal, while the describing the scope of the Lokpal Bill, quoted Chidambaram as saying that Justices G S Verma and M N Venkatachalaiah had expressed their opposition to including judiciary in the ambit of the Bill.

“We know both the Justices to be very good and honest Judges. The Government is misusing your statements and both of you should come out in support of including judiciary in the Bill,” Kejriwal urged.

Kiran Bedi, who traced the history of the movement against corruption and its compelling reasons, said, “We have a system to register an FIR for pickpockets, but not for the dacoits and for those who indulge in corruption. This is what we learnt in the aftermath of the Adarsh, CWG and 2G scams,” she said.

“We felt angry and came up with a Bill as a counter to the Government’s Bill which was useless and where the common man did not get any relief,” she said to an approving crowd.

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