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Anna Hazare rejects new draft of Lokpal bill, calls it a 'farce'

Anna Hazare rejects new draft of Lokpal bill, calls it a 'farce'
Patna Anna Hazare on Thursday rejected the amended Lokpal bill approved by the Union Cabinet as a "farce" and announced he will launch another agitation if the government went ahead with the enactment of a "weak" legislation.

The 75-year-old anti-graft activist also questioned UPA government's commitment to root out corruption in the country, saying he does not "trust" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to bring a stringent Bill for creating an anti-corruption ombudsman.

"Both PM and Sonia Gandhi can no more be trusted to bring a stringent Lokpal bill to root out corruption ... Had they been committed to the issue it would not have taken two years to take a concrete decision in this regard," Mr Hazare told reporters in Patna.

Mr Hazare while describing the Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday as "a farce" said he had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi in reply to her letter to him seeking clarification whether the proposed bill will be a stringent one and whether CBI and the CVC will be kept out of the government's control.

But she has not responded to these clarifications, he said and trashed the proposed Lokpal Bill. "The Centre is trying to befool the people by going ahead with it."

Mr Hazare said if the government went ahead with the enactment of a 'weak' Lokpal Bill he would launch another agitation. Mr Hazare went on a 12-day fast at the Ramlila grounds in Delhi in August 2011 to press for the Jan Lokpal Bill in an action that shook the nation.

Mr Hazare, who had launched a political outfit 'Janatantra Morcha' to work for change of system in Patna on Wednesday, said he will travel across the country to mobilise people to join his 'crusade'.

He will be holding public meetings in four states, including Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The names of the other two states will be decided later.

The Morcha will mobilise people to work collectively for rooting out corruption from the country by electing representatives with clean background.

"This way, the central government will be compelled to translate the agenda of Jan Lokpal Bill into action and root out corruption," Mr Hazare said, adding the scourge will be eliminated by about 50-60 per cent if the Lokpal bill as suggested by the civil society comes into force.
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