Poll reforms next on agenda: Anna

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 29 2011, 09:43am hrs
Hailing Parliaments nod on key elements of Jan Lokpal Bill as peoples victory, Anna Hazare on Sunday broke his 12-day fast declaring that electoral reforms will be on top of his agenda next so that corruption can come down.

The 74-year-old Gandhian accepted a glass of tender coconut water mixed with honey from a Dalit and a Muslim girl Simran and Ikrah at 10:20 am on the dais at the Ramlila Grounds ending over 288 hours of fast that began on August 16.

After a brief address, Hazare was driven straight to Medanta Medicity in neighbouring Gurgaon run by eminent cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan who was attending to him along with his team during his entire period of fast.

He was admitted to the hospital and is under strict observation of a team of doctors who have begun administering liquid diet to him. Hazare will be there for a couple of days. I have only deferred my fast, not given it up. Only when these reforms are complete will I really end my fast. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved, he said.

Dismissing the charge that his campaign was against Parliament and Constitution, he said the change has to be through constitutional means.

Flanked by his team members, including Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia, Hazare said what has been achieved in Parliament on Saturday is a victory of the people of India, democracy and those assembled in Ramlila Ground.

Team Anna hoped that the government will convene a special session of Parliament to pass the Lokpal Bill in a months time.

Minutes after Hazare ended his fast, Bhushan said: We hope that the government convenes a special session of Parliament within a months time to pass Lokpal Bill.

Hazare said his fight would now be for Right to Recall and Right to Reject as part of electoral reforms so that corruption can be reduced.

While Right to Recall would be for those elected, the Right to Reject will be a column in the ballot paper which would ensure the voter has a right to say that he does not like the listed candidates. We have to reform electoral system. (we need) Right to Reject. You should be able to reject your candidate in the ballot paper. We have to do that. If the majority in a constituency says that they reject a candidate, even then the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute Once the candidate spends R10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them, he said.

Maintaining that peoples parliament is bigger than Parliament in Delhi, Hazare said that is why Parliament had to listen to peoples parliament. This movement has created a faith that the country can be rid of corruption and we can go ahead with implementing laws and the Constitution made by Dr B R Ambedkar, he said.

Referring to Parliaments decision to refer three of his demands citizens charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas through Lokpal Bill for Standing Committees consideration, he said, the country can be proud of this moment. Thirteen days of agitation has yielded fruits.

Outlining his future agenda, Hazare chose reforms in election and education systems and working for the betterment of farmers and labourers. He said they will have to think about farmers problems as well as the woes of labourers and fight for them relentlessly.

Hazare said the fight for change should also focus on issues like protecting environment because the country may run out of fossil fuels like coal and petrol and those in power do not have the capacity to think of the future.

We have to think over these things in the fight for change. We should not keep quiet even if the whole of Jan Lokpal Bill is passed, he said.