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Anna to govt: Lokpal Bill by Aug 15 or else...
Threatens to take the ‘fast’ lane again if Parliament dithers
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 8
If the government thought that Anna Hazare’s fast at Jantar Mantar was a five-day wonder that could not be recreated at Rajghat under a hot and burning sun in June, it was mistaken.

Not only did Anna manage to recreate the earlier magic, the civil society’s movement against corruption appeared more rejuvenated with the social activist setting an ultimatum for the government to pass the Lokpal Bill corruption by August 15 failing which he will sit on another indefinite fast.

With emotions running high against corruption, masses came out in large numbers in support of the social activist who sat on a day-long fast at Rajghat, describing his agitation against corruption as the “second freedom struggle”.

Hitting out at the UPA government for the midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev at Ramlila Grounds, he said, “The government is trying to scare the people. The government action is an attack on democracy,” Hazare said. He even compared the police action with Jallianwala Bagh “without the firing part”.

The Congress was quick to retaliate with party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan pointing out that civil society representatives “could not be the alternate sources" for lawmaking, including the Lokpal Bill. “There is a constitutional scheme of things needed to be adhered to, including taking the views of the Parliament, while deciding on the legislation. Whatever they say could be suggestions for draft but it can't be the legislation. This is not a banana republic. We are working under the Constitution of India,” she said.

Anna and his associates, however, accused the government of putting “hurdles” in the drafting of the Bill by trying to defame civil society representatives on the panel through a “discreet” campaign.

And as Anna addressed the gathering, tri-colour-waving protesters wearing Gandhi caps added to the mood at the site, reverberating with patriotic songs and chants of “Vande Mataram”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Inqilab Zindabad”. Live music and

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Anna to govt:

Lokpal Bill by Aug 15 or else..

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street plays livened up the atmosphere. Anti-government sentiments ran high with supporters suggesting that the government had tried to sabotage today’s event through underhand means. Preachers from all faiths led prayers at the venue.

The Delhi Archbishop, Sikh, Jain, Viashnav and Muslim religious leaders addressed the crowd and Hazare asked his supporters to maintain peace when things got somewhat heated up. A number of Ramdev supporters also joined the protest. The very mention of HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s name was met with angry protests from the crowds who raised angry slogans against him. Hazare had to intervene to calm the gathering, saying that they were protesting outside Rajghat and had to go by Gandhi’s teachings.





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