Anna Hazare has thanked Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for his "commitment" to the passage of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, while demanding inclusion of recommendations of the select committee in the bill.
"The country awaits a strong Lokpal," Hazare said in the letter to Rahul, dated December 15 and released to media today.
"I welcome your commitment to get the Bill passed in Parliament. Please ensure that the points approved by the select committee are also incorporated in the bill," Hazare, whose indefinite fast for passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill entered the eighth day today, said.
"Besides these points, if Parliament includes other additional effective points, it will be in the interest of the country," Hazare wrote.
Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer and a key member of erstwhile Team Anna, said, "Anna has sent a letter of gratitude to Congress and BJP, that is to Rahul Gandhi and Arun Jaitley for recognising the urgency of passing the Lokpal Bill."
Meanwhile, Hazare's aide Suresh Pathare told PTI today that the Gandhian's condition has deteriorated. "Anna has lost a lot of weight since the fast began on December 10," he said.
While the veteran anti-corruption crusader praised the amended draft Lokpal bill presented in the Rajya Sabha, his one time protege Arvind Kejriwal dismissed it as "Jokepal".
Hazare said, "I accept it completely. If this Bill is passed, I will end my fast. The Bill will help the poor people of this country."
Kejriwal has expressed his opposition to the Bill and Hazare's acceptance. "I'm really surprised. How can Anna accept sarkari Lokpal Bill? Sarkari Lokpal is a 'Jokepal'. Who is misguiding him ?," he asked.
Hazare has requested the Samajwadi Party to extend support to the Bill. "I am confident that all the parties will support it and it will be passed," he said.