Ralegan Siddhi (Maharashtra): Alleging that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is trying to divide his Team Anna, activist Anna Hazare Wednesday said he will not hold any further talks and continue with indefinite protest from July 25 for a strong Lokpal bill.
In a three-page letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Hazare said he would take part in the protests from July 25 and also in yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Aug 9 protest being held in the national capital.
Hazare said Law Minister Salman Khurshid met him June 23 and assured him that the UPA government was ready to bring the Lokpal bill as suggested by the civil society. “Khurshid told me that the government was ready to bring all junior and senior government officials under the Lokpal and also bring the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) under the ambit of the Lokpal,” he said.
Addressing media persons at his hometown Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra, Hazare also released the letter he wrote to Manmohan Singh, in which he denied the claim of the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy that he was helping the government evolve a consensus on Lokpal.
Hazare said that Narayanasamy, in a letter to him Monday, had openly written that “I (Anna) have helped the government in matters related to Lokpal. I have not helped government in anyway and had clearly told Khurshid about our demands. I doubt if the intention behind sending Khurshid was to show that I am talking to government without telling rest of the members.”
He said he was asked by Khurshid to keep the meeting secret and that it would be discussed with rest of the team members after talking to the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “I did not discuss about this meeting thinking that if keeping it secret can bring an effective Lokpal, then nothing can be better than it. I did ask Khurshid about how the government will again introduce the Lokpal bill proposed by the civil society when the parliament has already passed a bill in the Lok Sabha,” Hazare said.
Hazare claimed Khurshid told him that the government was willing to bring the Jan Lokpal bill. He also defended his meeting with the minister, saying that he agreed for the meeting thinking that it would help the country. “I was told by Khurshid that the government would make an announcement that it has accepted the civil society’s Lokpal bill before our July 25 agitation. I think that the government is trying to divide us and we have decided to hold no further talks with the government and will continue to protest till a stringent Lokpal bill is passed,” he said.
Hazare and Baba Ramdev had during a press conference in Pune Tuesday said they would support each other in their fight against corruption.
Ramdev and Hazare had slammed the Congress-led UPA government and said it had not taken enough measures to deal with corruption and black money.