New Delhi(PTI): Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare today began his fast unto death demanding enactment of a comprehensive law like the Jan Lokpal Bill to tackle corruption. 72-year-old Hazare began his fast at Jantar Mantar after taking out a march from Rajghat where he paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi.
“We will fast unto death until the government enacts the Jan Lokpal Bill which is most necessary to fight corruption in our country,” Hazare told reporters here. Activists Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi and Sandeep Pandey were also present.
Hazare had yesterday said that he was saddened when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the demand by leading civil society members to include them and senior ministers in the joint committee to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s ombudsman Bill).
Hazare lamented that the views of eminent persons like Justice (Retd) Santosh Hegde, advocate Prashant Bhushan and Agnivesh were not considered important by the government and “a minister like Sharad Pawar, who is known for possessing large amounts of land in Maharashtra, is heading a committee that will draft the bill.”
The Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, expressed disappointment over Hazare’s decision to go on fast unto death.
“The PMO has noted with deep disappointment that Hazare is still planning to go ahead with his planned hunger strike,” a PMO release said last night. However, the Prime Minister has enormous respect for Hazare and his mission, it said.
Giving details of the steps taken on the Lokpal Bill, it said Hazare and his group had presented Singh a draft of their proposal on Lokpal.
“The Prime Minister offered and the group accepted a suggestion that a sub-committee of the Group of Ministers (GoM) could interact and discuss the draft with the civil society activists,” the release said.
The sub-committee headed by Defence Minister A K Anthony met colleagues of Hazare “but the interactions proved fruitless as the activists were insisting on the government accepting their draft in full”, the PMO said.