After Lokpal, Anna to focus on watchdog bodies

Breaks fast after nine days, takes a dig at 'camera-obsessed' AAP

After Lokpal, Anna to focus on watchdog bodies

After nine days of fasting, social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday  took a sip of coconut water as news broke out that the Lok Sabha had passed the Lokpal Bill.

He said now the struggle would be to carve out “watchdog bodies” to ensure the enforcement of law.

Amid much clapping and slogans, the Gandhian with his famous toothless smile spreading from ear to ear, also thanked members of both Houses of Parliament and political parties, barring Samajwadi Party, for their support; he also praised the Select Committee for strengthening the Lokpal Bill which people wanted.

Soon after the announcement of the successful passage of the bill, the 76-year-old anti-graft activist who had been crusading for an ombudsman to tackle corruption cases for the past two years, spoke at length.

He opined that while one phase was over, “...the next phase of struggle begins; law by itself is of no use if it is not implemented judicially and impartially; it is important to have some kind of watchdog bodies consisting of retired judges, former state police chiefs...but people of integrity, in all states as well as districts to see that the law is implemented; only then will people benefit from it.

“After all even though we have this law..it will not stamp out corruption totally; but am sure it will down the present rate at least 40 to 50 per cent.”

Interestingly, Hazare in his discourse deftly slipped an acid-laced barb against his former colleagues, now a part of political outfit called Aam Aadmi Party, and with a smirk said: “ People obsessed to be in front of camera are of no use to nation or to society....they just love to hear their voice and see themselves on television screen...I would have never reached where I am if I had suffered from this obsession.”

During the agitation, last week, the social activist had to order AAP leader Gopal Rai leave the venue after the latter tried to heckle and interrupt former Army chief V K.Singh for castigating Arvind Kejriwal and others for deserting Hazare to form a political outfit.

Ironically, Hazare’s key aide Kiran Bedi, while talking to the media about the Lokpal movement, thanked former comrades, stating: “We thank all those who laid the foundation of the movement,” but added that all those who harbour doubts that the bill in its present form was ‘weak' are “living in darkness and ignorance.”

She said that Anna for the past one year was keeping a track of Select Committee proceedings and after a lot of deliberation over every clause, “we accepted it because we know that CBI will no longer be a caged parrot but a free bird.”

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