Pass Lokpal bill or face protest: Hazare


New Delhi : Social activist Anna Hazare Sunday accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of “betrayal” on the Jan Lokpal Bill and warned of another protest if it was not passed before the 2014 general election.

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Addressing supporters after inaugurating his new office at Sarvodaya Enclave here, Hazare said: “If the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed before the 2014 elections, we will hold another rally at Ramlila Maidan.

The septuagenarian said Manmohan Singh had betrayed him by not fulfilling his pledge to pass the Anti-Corruption Bill in parliament.

“Our fight for Jan Lokpal Bill will continue till it is passed by the government. I will campaign throughout the country and try to raise the conscience of the people. I will try to bring in change,” he said.

Taking a dig at politicians, Hazare said: “The country lacks leadership.”

“The time has come to reach out to every house in the country and spread the message of anti-corruption. We have to work for a corruption-free India,” he said.

Hazare had Saturday announced a new 15-member team and vowed to start a nation-wide campaign against corruption from Jan 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

“Gandhiji said that to change the country we must first change our villages. That will lead to development. If people could be changed with money, then Tatas and Birlas would have done it,” he said.

The new office at Sarvodaya Enclave in south Delhi has been rented from a volunteer for the cause, an aide to Hazare told IANS.

On Sep 19, Hazare announced the disbanding of Team Anna and parted ways with Arvind Kejriwal.

Hazare said Sunday that he and Kejriwal were following different ways to achieve the common goal of a corruption-free India.

“We don’t have faith in the path Kejriwal is pursuing,” Hazare said.

Meanwhile, seeking donations for the cause, former IPS officer and Hazare team member Kiran Bedi said three accounts would be opened in the name of herself, Sunita Godara and Lt Col Brijender Khokar, into which money could be donated for supporting the work of India Against Corruption.

“People can donate through cheque or draft in the name of India Against Corruption (IAC),” the former IPS officer said to reporters.

“The name IAC remains with us. Arvind’s organisation is Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF),” Bedi said.

Bedi tweeted: “Team Anna 2.0 a continuation of the same movement.”

Kejriwal had Saturday said that he would not use the name India Against Corruption, if Anna asked him not to.