Anna, Kejriwal spar over Lokpal draft

Anna, Kejriwal spar over Lokpal draft

The Centre’s attempt to come clean on the Lokpal issue may not succeed even after its passage in Parliament as the Aam Aadmi Party has rejected the bill in its present form and hinted at making it an electoral issue.

Developments are also pointing at a fresh battle over the issue between anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and his former associate Arvind Kejriwal. Hazare has welcomed the passage of the bill and announced that he would end his fast at Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district soon after the bill is passed. His fast entered the fifth day on Sunday.  
“Anna received a leaked copy of the proposed draft bill that is to be placed in the Rajya Sabha. He made it very clear that as he is very keen on bringing the law into force, the draft of the proposed bill in its present form seems all right and further amendments can be carried out later on,” sources in Ralegan Siddhi told Deccan Herald over the phone.

But Kejrwal expressed his disappointment over Hazare’s willingness to accept the bill.
Kejriwal on Sunday called the bill “weak and ineffective”. He also alleged that it was to benefit the Congress and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. 

“Forget about any minister, not even a mouse will go to jail if this bill is enacted. I pondered over who will gain from this Lokpal Bill. I found that the Congress would gain and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi will get some credit for its passage,” he told mediapersons.

“Had the CBI been independent, there was a possibility that even the prime minister might have been jailed in either the 2G or the coal scam case,” he added.

Taking an entirely opposite stand on the issue, Hazare made it very clear that he was keen on bringing the law into force.

Hazare also indirectly attacked Kejriwal. “Those who have problems with this draft can certainly agitate and sit on fast if they want,” he said.

Kejriwal, however, rejected the suggestion that provisions could later be added to the present legislation. “We will continue with our agitation for Jan Lokpal and make the people aware that Parliament has failed to keep its three assurances made to Hazare to break his fast,” he said.

“Formation of Lokayuktas have been left to the discretion of the state governments. There is no provision for whistle-blowers’ protection either,” said AAP member Prashant Bhushan.

Meanwhile, indicating that tension might mount between Hazare’s supporters and AAP leaders, former IPS officer Kiran Bedi on Sunday evening ended her fast at Ralegan Siddhi and said: “Anna wants a law and that is what we all want. They (AAP) want a cause, a handle, a reason to keep on raising a bogey so that they can remain in news.”

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