Government backtracked on promises, claims Anna

The members said the government had “backtracked” on the promises that it would agree to all the suggestions forwarded by them.

 “The government did not keep its promise made to me when I was on fast (in May) that it would draft a bill by agreeing to all suggestions given by the civil society members. I wonder why two versions of the draft are to be sent to the cabinet. It could have been done without making a joint committee,”  Anna Hazare said.

Throwing enough hints at his plan to hit the streets, Hazare said: “If the government wants to suppress us like Ramdev,  we are prepared  for that. We will resist the government non-violently. We are ready to face lathis and bullets. I am ready to sacrifice my life for the sake of the country,” he added.

The decision came after Anna closeted with his associates in Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, where he is staying, and discussed the future strategy. The agitation programme will include public consultations and campaigns. Asked whether he is blackmailing the Centre, he shot back: “If it is blackmailing the government, I will continue to black mail. What is the point of according sanction to a weak bill?”

Arvind Kejriwal, another member on the committee, alleged that at no point the government came out with a plausible argument while rejecting the proposals of the civil society members on contentious issues. Instead, they referred statements by individuals.  “The government has “frittered away a huge opportunity” to frame a strong bill and take credit for it.What the government is now bringing is not a Lokpal Bill but a ‘Jokepal' Bill,” said Kejirwal.

“The Centre is not ready to accept the basic model presented by the civil society members. It wants a small 11-member institution of Lokpal to look into the corruption charges,” said Prashant Bhushan.

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