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Politicians lined up at Jantar Mantar for fasting Hazare

Sunday December 11, 2011 05:06:02 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Political leaders Sunday came out strongly in support of Anna Hazare's Lokpal bill at the venue of a daylong fast by the anti-corruption crusader in the heart of the capital.

Thousands flocked to Jantar Mantar, the same spot where Hazare's five-day hunger strike in April had sparked off a nationwide movement against corruption.

Arun Jaitley of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Pinaki Mishra of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) demanded that the prime minister be brought under the purview of the Lokpal bill.

Thundered Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav to cheering and clapping: "Not a comma or a full stop in your (Team Anna) Lokpal bill should be changed."

Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav accused the government of betraying parliament by going back on the "Sense of the House" resolution adopted after Hazare's longer August hunger strike here -- agreeing to enforce a Citizen's Charter, Lokayuktas in states, and covering all government employees.

Hazare, 74, nodded in visible agreement when Ram Gopal Yadav said that Team Anna should not insist on parliament accepting "each and every word" of their Lokpal bill. But this led to howls of protest by the crowds.

He, however, praised Hazare, a former soldier turned activist, for his "holy work" of raising people's voice against endemic corruption in India.

K. Yerran Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party, who spoke in English, said all political parties should accept the Team Anna Lokpal bill.

Like Hazare in recent days, Naidu hit out at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, saying both he and his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi were not serious about combating corruption.

Also flanking Hazare on the dais were Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India general secrtary A.B. Bardhan.

Hazare's protest came after the Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi coming out with a Lokpal report that Hazare trashed as inconsequential to overcome corruption.

Hazare has threatened to itensify protests acrosss the country if his version of the Lokpal was not accepted by parliament. The Congress refused to join Sunday's debate, saying Lokpal "cannot be framed in Jantar Mantar".

Hazare has called for nationwide protest fasts Sunday. In his village Ralegan-Siddhi in Maharashtra, residents observed a total shutdown. Hundreds sat on a token fast.

In Delhi, Key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal launched a scathing attack on Communications Minister Kapil Sibal, saying his move to censor the Net would fail to derail the anti-corruption movement.

Kejriwal said: "SMS played a big role in our movement, so he changed the telecom policy that more than 200 SMSes cannot be sent from one SIM (in a day)!"

Earlier Sunday, Hazare visited the Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi and then began the daylong protest at Jantar Mantar amid resounding cries of "Inquilab Zindabad!" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai"!

Amid a looming confrontation, the government has called an all-party meeting Wednesday to reach a consensus on the Lokpal bill, which seeks to end corruption at various levels of the government.

 

 

 

 

 

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