Kejriwal promises Jan Lokpal by February, asserts right to agitate

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: Promising the passage of the “almost ready” Jan Lokpal Bill next month at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, “in the midst of people”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday asserted his right to hold agitations, despite being a chief minister, while accusing some media houses of portraying the party negatively.

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    Speaking on the eve of Republic Day at the Chhatrasal Stadium here, Kejriwal said that the intention behind the law was not to send people to prison but to check corruption and instil a sense of fear.

    “The Jan Lokpal Bill is almost ready, and in the month of February we will have a special Delhi assembly session at the Ramlila Maidan and in the midst of people the bill will be passed,” Kejriwal said as the crowd, which had a large number of schoolchildren, erupted in thunderous applause and cheers.

    “We don’t want people to go to jail, we want them to mend their ways,” said Kejriwal adding that corruption in Delhi had gone down by “at least 20 to 30 percent” since the party came to power. He said he had come to this conclusion on the basis of “feedback from the people.”

    The chief minister also said that the safety and security of women was an important concern of his government and that a committee had been constituted Friday under the chairmanship of Delhi Chief Secretary Sanjoy Kumar Srivastava for the protection and security of women. The body, comprising of retired army personnel and home guards, will ensure protection and security of women, Kejriwal said adding that provisions will be made to ensure that rapists are sent to jail within 3-6 months.

    Defending his agitation in the heart of Delhi a couple of days back, Kejriwal, who had rebelliously called himself an “anarchist” on the first day of the agitation Monday, said that the constitution did not prevent a chief minister from protesting.

    “It was for the first time that a chief minister had protested for women’s safety, but by imposing Section 144 (that prohibits assembly of five or more persons) the central government proved that they were not serious about the issue. The central government has called my protest against the constitution but there is no provision which says that a CM cannot sit on a dharna.” He said.

    Kejriwal, who took oath only three weeks ago, asserted that if needed, he would agitate again. Expressing his intent of saving the country from corruption, Kejriwal said that some media houses were “intentionally trying to create hurdles” by portraying the party negatively. He did not name the media houses.

    “We are trying to save the country from corruption and if media projects AAP in a negative light who will save the country?” he asked.

    Reiterating his stand on giving power to the masses, the chief minister said ‘mohalla sabhas’ (neighbourhood assemblies) would be set up across Delhi so that people can “govern themselves.”

    “If the people keep on approaching us for every little problem, it will be difficult for us to govern effectively. Therefore, we want people to govern themselves. We want to transfer power to them,” Kejriwal said.

    “We will divide Delhi into clusters and elections will be held in these mohallas, headed by a chairman. We will give them funds and they will meet every week and decide how to spend it on water, electricity, cleanliness, roads, parks etc. In the next 15 days, a draft of this law will be finalised,” he added.

    Kejriwal also handed over a cheque of Rs. one crore to the family of a Delhi excise department constable who died in an attack by the liquor mafia in December last year.