M A I N   N E W S

Anna changes track, harps on Jan Lokpal Bill
Says will not leave Ramlila Maidan till this Bill is adopted 
Vibha Sharma & Sandeep Yadav
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 19
After spending close to 70 hours behind bars, though voluntarily, Anna Hazare walked out of Tihar Jail today to a rapturous applause of thousands of people waiting patiently for him outside. Responding to a tumultuous ovation from enthusiastic supporters, a smilingly Anna warned the government that his agitation would continue till his "last breath" unless a Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament, thereby indicating that the Congress-led UPA's nightmare was not likely to end anytime soon.

Enthused by huge nationwide support for his anti-corruption campaign, Anna also called for complete "transformation" of India and appealed to the people not to take or give bribe.

Members of Team Anna want the government to withdraw its draft of Lokpal Bill and table the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by them in Parliament. Hitting strongly at the government, key aide Arvind Kejriwal said the government was using the Parliamentary Standing Committee as a shield. He also alleged that the government was betraying people in the name of the Judicial Accountability Bill to keep higher judiciary out of the Lokpal purview, in a way squashing speculations that Team Anna was softening stand on certain aspects of the Bill.

Anna came out of the jail this morning after his team reached an agreement with the government for holding the fast for 15 days. On the fourth day of his fast, he looked totally fit when he sprinted a short distance in Rajghat to escape from rain though he had lost 3 kg of weight since Tuesday.

The government, which learnt its mistake of arresting Anna the hard way, is in a desperate need of a concrete strategy to meet the challenge staring at it. Sources say that the government has decided not to interfere with the mass protest but it will try and engage the team members in fresh discussions.

A suggestion has been made that the government should send the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by Team Anna to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. While the government is not too keen to do that, the Parliamentary Standing Committee may be asked to invite Hazare to place the Jan Lokpal Bill before it.

Anna's Tihar Jail stint turned into a political nightmare for the government with the Opposition having a field day over the issue. The mass protests across the country on the very first day of his arrest led the UPA to announce in the evening itself that crusader will be released at once, but again, Anna stumped everyone by saying that he would not leave the jail premises unless allowed to sit on fast the way he wanted to.

n Nine parties back Anna P2





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