Ties between Anna Hazare and his former protege Arvind Kejriwal reached a new low on Sunday with Hazare associate Kiran Bedi accusing the Aam Aadmi Party chief of trying to keep the issue of the Lokpal alive for political gains even though most of their demands regarding the Bill had been met.
Hazare denied Kejriwal’s claim that he had been misled by “some people” to believe that the government’s Lokpal Bill, was strong and effective. He wouldn’t try convincing AAP otherwise though, Hazare added, as “it wasn’t an important enough party”.
Speaking to mediapersons on the sixth day of his fast, Hazare said that he had read the draft Lokpal Bill tabled in the Rajya Sabha and was satisfied with the provisions. “I don’t want to die fasting to demand that each and every suggestion made by me should be included. I want to live because I want to start future agitations for more pro-people laws. I am satisfied with the current draft and I want to break my fast if that Bill is passed,” he said.
Kejriwal, however, continued his attack on the government Bill, calling it “a far cry from the Jan Lokpal Bill”.
“Leave alone ministers, not even a mouse will go to jail on the basis of this Bill,” the AAP chief said at a press conference in Delhi.
Hazare said he was not a gullible child to get misled. “I have pressured governments to enact pro-people laws. Even when the Ramlila Maidan protest was on, I communicated directly with the Prime Minister without discussing with any associates,” he said.
When asked if he would engage AAP to get their support on the Bill, he said it was not an important enough party. “How many MPs do they have? Why should I engage them?”
Bedi, who is fasting alongside Anna, said: “I don’t know why Arvind is creating so much clamour. Anna wants a strong law but he wants to keep the issue alive because he has a party now.”
AAP leader Prashant Bhushan said there were three things missing in the government’s Bill. Addressing the Delhi press conference, he said these were “inclusion of all public servants under the investigative purview of the Lokpal; enabling the Lokpal to monitor citizens’ charters and to penalise public authorities; and the provision for Lokayuktas on Lokpal lines for states”.
AAP leaders said the Bill also “left the Lokpal’s corruption