Show courage for strong Lokpal bill: Hazare to PM

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) Upping the ante on the Lokpal bill ahead of assembly polls in five states, Anna Hazare Sunday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to “show courage” in passing stringent anti-corruption legislation to give the country something to remember him by.

Team Anna also wrote separate missives to Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and other leaders questioning their party’s stance on aspects of the legislation passed by the Lok Sabha last month.
Using sharp language in the letters to the prime minister and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Hazare described Home Minister P. Chidambaram as “corrupt” and wondered why the government wanted to keep Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) “in its grip.”
The four-page letter to Manmohan Singh, only signed by Hazare, said he was not sure whether the Congress will give him another chance to become the prime minister and he should use this opportunity to push for a stringent anti-corruption law.
“You have turned 80 and this country has given you everything. Now the county is asking something in return… show courage to push for a stringent Lokpal bill. You had put your government at stake for passing the civil nuclear liability bill, now show courage for a strict anti-corruption law,” Hazare said.
“There is no guarantee that you will again get a chance to become the prime minister so you should do something that country can remember you always. We request you to replace the present bill with a strict bill.”
“Does the CBI have some files which the government does not want to bring in public domain? Or is it that they want to misuse CBI to save corrupt ministers? Or is it you want to misuse CBI to ensure that the government does not fall by ensuring support of (Mulayam Singh) Yadav and Mayawati,” Hazare asked.
Hazare wrote that Team Anna had decided to tour the poll-bound states and inform the people about the Jan Lokpal bill and that the team will continue to do so till the government brought in a strong Lokpal.
The letter to Gandhi signed by Hazare and his associates Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal, asked the Congress leader whether his party will dare bring a law on the lines of “strong” Lokayukta law in Uttarakhand.
It said the government did not honour the commitment to bring a strong Lokpal bill but readily agreed to Gandhi’s demand to give constitutional status to the anti-corruption ombudsman.
“It looks like that the government listens to you only,” it said.
The letter to Gadkari asked if the party will adopt the Lokpal bill passed by Uttarakhand in other party-ruled states. It said the resolution passed by parliament had talked of setting up Lokayuktas in states but the BJP had expressed reservations on the issue.
In its letter to Mayawati, Team Anna said her party did not oppose the bill in the standing committee and staged a walkout in Lok Sabha which helped the government pass the bill in the lower house.
In its letter to Mulayam Singh, Team Anna said his party opposed the bill strongly in the standing committee but staged a walk out in Lok Sabha facilitating its passage. Team Anna also asked if SP to clarify if he would go with Congress or BJP after the Uttar Pradesh elections.
Team Anna also asked the political leaders about their compulsion in giving tickets to people with criminal backgrounds.