At a press conference in his home town of Ralegan Siddhi, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare explained his focus for the next few months. He said he will tour all five states that are heading for elections. This five-state tour covering Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur is likely to begin between October 13 and 15.
The 74-year-old said he has planned many rallies for Uttar Pradesh. He will appeal to voters not to support the Congress if the Jan Lokpal bill is not passed in the winter session of Parliament. In that case, the Gandhian said he may also start a fast in Lucknow three days before the elections in Uttar Pradesh. The dates for UP's polls have not yet been announced.
Mr Hazare also said, he will appeal to voters in the Hisar Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana where bypolls are scheduled on October 13.
In a rebuttal of sorts Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi stressed that the battle against corruption could be fought "only through the political system". Mr Gandhi pitched for making organisations more democratic and involving ordinary youth, who find politics inaccessible. "People talk of corruption. If you want to fight corruption then this can only be done through the political system, through democratic means," he said while addressing Youth Congress activists at a meet in New Delhi. (Watch
"People of India will tell whom they support, what they want... I am sure Annaji will also respect people of India," said Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid.
The Jan Lokpal Bill delivers Anna's vision of a new anti-corruption agency called the Lokpal which will be empowered to investigate complaints of corruption against public servants.
In August, Anna's 13-day hunger fast was supported by millions as he asked the government to adopt the Jan Lokpal Bill. Under tremendous pressure, the bill was introduced in Parliament which passed a unanimous resolution accepting Anna's three must-have provisions: That all lower bureaucrats be accountable to the Lokpal or ombudsman; that the Lokapl model be introduced in all states; and that government departments post a Citizen's Charter or a notice that displays that department's duties along with relevant timelines. (Read: PM should accept 'agnipariksha' on 2G scam, says Anna
In today's press conference, Anna also criticised Narendra Modi's government for arresting Sanjiv Bhatt. He said it was wrong on the Gujarat government's part to put Sanjiv Bhatt behind bars after he filed an affidavit against Mr Modi in connection with the 2002 riots. (Read: Will anti-Modi cop get bail?