Posts tagged ‘lokpal bill’

August 4, 2012

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers

New Delhi: It seems that Team Anna’s decision to enter politics has not gone down well with some of the supporters.

Reports claim that some supporters of Anna Hazare at Navsari in Surat have burnt posters of the social activist and India Against Corruption.

In fact, former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde also said yesterday that he does not support Anna Hazare and his team floating a political party, but would campaign for candidates who identify themselves with his movement against corruption.

There was a section of the volunteers of India Against Corruption at Jantar Mantar, who were cheering Anna Hazare during his fast, protested the team’s decision to take a political route.

Around 50 volunteers reportedly submitted their identity cards with the management of India Against Corruption and refused to turn up at the event.

Reports also said some of the volunteers were also beaten up for displaying placards requesting Team Anna not to join the politics.

However, Team Anna has given assurance to dejected volunteers that Arvind Kejriwal would meet them soon.

Team Anna’s decision to join politics irks backers On Friday, Team Anna moved towards forming a party to fight the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but Anna Hazare made it clear that he will not launch a party or contest elections. Ending their ten-day fast at Jantar Mantar, the team declared that “people” will decide on their candidates and fund their elections.

“We will have to throw this government out. It is a long fight. This is not a party. It will be a movement from the streets to Parliament.”

“Parliament has to be purified. There will be no high command. People will decide the candidates and they will fund it,” Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal announced.

December 11, 2011

Team Anna should be flexible, says Left

New Delhi: Hitting out at the Standing Committee and the government, Left leaders on Sunday rejected the panel’s Lokpal draft submitted before Parliament.

Taking part in the ‘Lokpal debate’ being held here at Jantar Mantar, where Anna Hazare is observing a day-long fast, general secretary of the Communist Party of India, AB Bardhan thanked Team Anna and the common public for “allowing” political leaders for discussion on a public platform.

Addressing the huge gathering Bardhan urged Team Anna to be flexible, saying all the points of Jan Lokpla Bill cannot be accepted.

Divulging his party’s stand, Bardhan said Group A, B, C and D employees should come under Lokpal. Interestingly, the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s Lokpal draft excludes Group C and D staff and recommends they be covered under the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.

Along with Bardhan, Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Brinda Karat said that their parties want inclusion of the Prime Minister under Lokpal.

Both the Left leaders disagreed with Team Anna’s point of view of bringing judiciary under Lokpal, saying that a judicial commission and a strong Judicial Accountability Bill should be made. Justifying his party’s stand Bardhan said that judiciary has always been an independent institution and its independence should be maintained.

Taking on the corporate sector, Karat said that there is a nexus between the government and corporates. Liberal policies have been introduced to favour corporates which is further increasing corruption, she said demanding corporates should be brought under Lokpal.

The CPI(M) leader also said that a separate grievance redressal bill should be brought in, but agreed with Team Anna’s demand for inclusion of citizen’s charter under Lokpal.

Karat said that her party has rejected Parliamentary panel’s draft and party MPs have submitted their dissent notes.

She expressed disappointment over other political parties of not favouring vote, speech and conduct of MPs in the House to come under Lokpal, adding that her party is the only one which wants Parliament’s members be included under the ombudsman bill.

On the issue of bringing CBI under the purview of Lokpal, Karat said that the country’s premier investigating agency’s corruption wing should be brought under the ombudsman.

December 11, 2011

Join my fight for Lokpal: Anna to political parties

New Delhi: Thanking the political leaders for coming and taking part in the debate on Lokpal at Jantar Mantar here, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Sunday requested the political parties to join him on the streets in his campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill.

The Gandhian, who is on a day-long token fast, told the supporters that all politicians are not corrupt and there are good people in politics as well. However, he added that criminalisation of politics is a concern.

The noted social activist said that the entire nation is watching, adding he will again court arrest and appeal for ‘jail bharo aandolan’ if a strong Lokpal Bill is not passed in the Winter Session.

“Not a single jail should be left empty,” he said, to a thunderous applause from his supporters.

“The government should listen to the voice of the people. Agitation will continue for a strong Lokpal,” Hazare added.

He told the politicians – including Arun Jaitley of the BJP, Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) and AB Bardhan of the CPI — to fight for a strong Lokpal inside the Parliament and force the government to pass an effective law.

“You fight inside Parliament, we will fight outside. If the government disagrees you should join us in street protests,” he said.

The politicians earlier backed Hazare on having a strong ombudsman with the Prime Minister under its ambit but cautioned him not to be rigid on his version of the bill.

Source: Zeenews

August 20, 2011

Govt blinks, ready to talk to Anna

New Delhi: At a time when the UPA is on backfoot over Gandhian Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast, pressing for a stronger Lokpal Bill, government has hinted that it was ready to talk to Team Anna to find a midway, if approached formally.

The indications came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired an hour-long meeting of Congress core group late last night, to take stock of the situation arising out of Anna’s fast at Ramlila Ground.

The meeting was attended by senior Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram and AK Antony. Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel was also present in the meeting.

“The government has no problem in holding talks with the civil society group led by Hazare if they express readiness,” highly placed sources in the Congress party informed.

A number of Congress leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity said the government should re-engage Team Anna in talks.

Govt blinks, ready to talk to Anna The meeting came against the backdrop of Hazare setting a deadline of August 30 for the government to get the Janlokpal Bill passed in Parliament, failing which he decided to continue his fast “till his last breath”.

Meanwhile, Congress launched damage control exercise over handling of Anna issue with East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit stating that the Gandhian should not have been arrested and adverse comments made against him could have been avoided.

The civil society led by Anna Hazare have been demanding inclusion of Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament under the ambit of Lokpal.

The Hazare team is also demanding a strong public grievance redressal mechanism, lokayuktas at state-level and independent selection, funding and removal mechanism to ensure autonomy of function.

The Lokpal Bill cleared by the cabinet seeks to keep the office of the Prime Minister outside the purview of the ombudsman during his term in office and also exclude higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament.

The Lokpal, consisting of chairperson and eight members, half of them judicial, will have its own prosecution and investigation wing with officers and staff necessary to carry out its functions.


August 18, 2011

Lokpal Bill row: Anna Hazare relents; accepts police permission for 15-day fast

New Delhi:  More than 36 hours after he was brought to the Tihar Jail, Anna Hazare relented and accepted a police offer of staging a 15-day protest hunger- strike at the Ramlila Grounds in Delhi. Mr Hazare is expected to be at the venue at 3 pm today, tweeted his close associate Kiran Bedi.

The breakthrough was reached  after Anna Hazare’s close associates Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan met Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta late on Wednesday night to iron out differences. The meeting took place at Commissioner Gupta’s residence in Chanakyapuri’s Satya Marg after midnight. Team Anna then went back to Tihar Jail to brief Mr Hazare about their talks.

Reports suggest there will be no limits on how many people can gather at this base camp in support of Anna, though the police will review security and safety conditions continuously to ensure that those at the protest site do not disrupt traffic or in other ways breach upon normal life for the rest of the capital.

Anna had vowed not to leave Tihar till he was guaranteed that the Government would not impose any conditions upon the mass-protest he wants to hold in Delhi. The police first said the protest would be illegal if it drew more than 5000 people or if the 74-year-old Anna’s hunger strike extended beyond three days. Anna and his supporters said they’d defy police instructions and were on their way to launch their demonstration on Tuesday when they were arrested.

The Government has learnt to regret that decision. In Parliament and outside, the consensus has been that the arrests violated the fundamental right to peaceful protest.  And India reacted with massive shows of support for Anna.

As evening fell upon Delhi on Wednesday, rush hour saw thousands of people gathering in different parts of the capital. A total of 10,000 people marched in groups between 4 and 6 pm from India Gate to Jantar Mantar, stating simply “Anna, hum tumhaare saath hain (we are with you, Anna).”

The crowd of nearly 2000 people outside Tihar Jail at 6 pm was more boisterous, roaring each time word spread that Anna and his aides had moved onto the next point in their lengthy negotiations with the Delhi Police. (Top surfer comments on Anna Hazare)

Mr Hazare knows his arrest and the overwhelming public support for him has given him considerable leverage. So when the police offered him Ramlila Maidan as a new venue Wednesday, he accepted; when he was asked to limit his protest’s duration to 15 days, he did not.

Through the early evening, there were reports that Anna would wrap up his talks with the police and emerge from jail. But shortly after 6 pm, Ms Bedi told the crowd outside Tihar, “The talks with the Delhi Police are continuing…we’ve agreed on the venue but not the duration (of the protest).”

“We are not worried, we will find a way out of this”, said the Prime Minister outside his home on Wednesday afternoon. However, the decision to have Mr Hazare arrested has proved to be near-catastrophic for the Government. Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement in Parliament on Wednesday morning explaining the background to the arrest was described as disappointing by the Opposition.

In a powerful attack, the BJP’s Arun Jaitley charged the government of arrogance and of being advised by “too many lawyers” (a quick swipe at those like senior minister Kapil Sibal who have been countering Mr Hazare), Mr Jaitley said, “You have a serious political issue which is being debated for the last few months and climaxes in last few days…and we find that the political leadership of this country is hiding behind men in uniform…and telling us that the entire crisis was being handled by policemen.”

Mr Hazare was actually allowed by the Delhi Police to leave jail on Tuesday night, about 12 hours after he was arrested. But he turned down the offer to head out of Tihar, insisting that he wants the government to first agree that his hunger strike will not be interrupted or his protest checked as long as it remains peaceful.

Among his visitors were spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and civil rights activist Swami Agnivesh. Outside, among the crowd, popular yoga guru Baba Ramdev, was seen standing atop a car.

Mr Hazare’s hunger strike began on Tuesday morning. Since then, he has had only water. Doctors have been examining him in prison.

The war between the government and Mr Hazare centres on the Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament last week. The Bill is meant to provide an antidote to the seemingly limitless corruption among politicians, bureaucrats and judges. Mr Hazare says the government has betrayed India by drafting a Bill that has no intention of seriously and objectively investigating charges of venality. The BJP’s Arun Jaitley stressed in Parliament that while his party has vast differences with Mr Hazare’s suggestions for the Bill, it does not agree with the “government-appointed Lokpal” that the current bill provides for.

Like Tuesday, the public support for Mr Hazare played out in different cities on Wednesday too. In Bangalore, Freedom Park saw thousands of protestors. Mumbai’s Azad Maidan was also filled during the day with supporters of Anna.


August 16, 2011

After Hazare’s detention, Manmohan Singh calls cabinet meet

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has scheduled an emergency meeting of the cabinet Committee on Political Affairs in Parliament House at 10.15 a.m. Tuesday following the detention of Gandhian activist Anna Hazare in the morning.

The meeting will take stock of the situation arising out of Hazare’s detention by the Delhi Police early morning, hours before he was set to proceed on an indefinite fast demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill to deal with the corrupt.

Others scheduled to attend the meeting include Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, officials in Prime Minister’s Office said.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi are also scheduled to attend the meeting, they added.

Hazare, 74, had announced Sunday he would proceed with his indefinite fast at the Jai Prakash Narain Park near Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium close to the old quarters of the city. The Delhi Police had imposed prohibitory orders there.

He was detained along with some 250 of his supporters including activist Arvind Kejriwal and former top cop Kiran Bedi. Some of them were taken into custody from other places in the city.

‘Don’t let my arrest stop this movement. This is the nation’s second struggle for freedom. The entire world has come to know how deep rooted corruption is,’ Hazare had said in a statement, minutes before his detention.

‘I appeal to you that let there be no violence in this movement. I also appeal to you, young and old alike, to give eight days of your life to the nation – if necessary for a jail bharo andolan (fill the jails campaign).’

His supporters, who were detailed from various places, described the police action as unconstitutional.


August 16, 2011

Lokpal Bill: Delhi Police arrest Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal

New Delhi, August 16(ANI): The Delhi Police have detained veteran social activist Anna Hazare ahead of his indefinite fast over the proposed Lokpal Bill.

On Tuesday morning, over a dozen plain-clothed policemen landed at lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s house in Mayur Vihar, where Hazare was staying, and detained the Gandhian activist minutes before he was to set out for Rajghat, from where he had planned to head to the Jai Prakash Narain (JP) Park to begin his fast.

According to sources, Hazare has been taken away to the Police mess in north Delhi.

RTI crusader Arvind Kejriwal as well as former IPS officer Kiran Bedi-both of whom are Hazare supporters- have also been taken into preventive custody.

The Delhi Police has imposed Section 144 at several places in the capital, including central Delhi, JP Park, Rajghat and Dilli Gate.

On Monday evening, Hazare had announced at a packed press conference at Delhi’s Constitution Club: “I am starting my fast tomorrow. It is just the start of a struggle for change. We have to fight a long battle. It’s going to be a fight to bring about change in India.” (ANI)


August 10, 2011

Lokpal Bill: Team Anna to meet Par panel today Delhi: Anna Hazare and his associates will meet a Parliamentary panel Wednesday to put forth their views on the Lokpal Bill.

Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan will meet the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Law and Justice today evening to express their viewpoint on the issue.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had referred the Bill to the Standing Committee headed by Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi and gave it three months time to give its report.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4 amid BJP’s objection over non-inclusion of the office of the Prime Minister under the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog.

A section in the government had earlier hoped that the Standing Committee examines the bill this month so that it could be taken up in the current session itself. No other bill in the recent past has evoked so much controversy as the Lokpal Bill.

Lokpal Bill: Team Anna to meet Par panel today The government for the first time constituted a Joint Drafting Committee consisting of five representatives each from the government’s side and the civil society represented by Hazare.


July 29, 2011

Ready to face bullets: Anna Hazare Delhi: Gandhian activist Anna Hazare on Friday called on the people of the nation to join the struggle for a strong Lokpal Bill. Speaking exclusively to Zee News, Hazare said he was ready to go jail and eve face bullets for the cause.

Hazare had yesterday announced that he would again sit on fast from August 16 as the government has betrayed the nation on the issue of drafting a strong Lokpal Bill. It should be noted that the Union Cabinet had yesterday approved the draft Lokpal Bill but decided to keep the serving Prime Minister and the judiciary out of its ambit.

Slamming the government for betraying the nation, Hazare said the government’s intention to tackle corruption is doubtful. Hazare, whose April 5 indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi united people across the country, said the battle for a strong Lokpal Bill would be the second freedom struggle.

He made it clear that every official needs to come under the ambit of Lokpal.

“This is democracy; the government has to make laws according to people’s wishes,” he said.

“If the nation fails to wake up today, corruption will never end,” he added.

Accusing the government of trying to kill democracy, Hazare said the government should remember that his team is prepared to face a Baba Ramdev like crackdown.

Ready to face bullets: Anna Hazare The anti-graft Lokpal Bill approved by the Union Cabinet yesterday will be introduced in Parliament in the Monsoon Session that begins on August 01.

The nine-member Lokpal will be headed by a former Supreme Court or High Court chief justice, according to the draft legislation.

Half the remaining members will be from the judiciary and the others should be persons of “impeccable integrity” and should have 25 years of experience in the anti-corruption field.

The Prime Minister won’t come under the purview of the Bill during his period in office, but will be covered by it after he leaves the post. The statute of limitations under the Bill is seven years.


July 4, 2011

PM promises Lokpal Bill in Monsoon Session

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi: The crucial all-party meet on Lokpal Bill on Sunday ended on a positive note with majority of the political parties agreeing to bring in a bill for a “strong” and “effective” anti-corruption ombudsman, though there were differences on the provisions of the proposed legislation.

“The all-party meeting agreed that the government should bring before the monsoon session of Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill following the established procedures,” stated a resolution passed after the three-hour-long meeting.

In the all-party meet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaffirmed his government’s commitment to table the Lokpal Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. He stressed on the point that such an institution will have to work within the framework of the Constitution.

“The government is committed to the enactment of a Lokpal Act, which provides for a strong, effective and quick institutional arrangement for tackling corruption in high places. We are also committed to bringing the bill before parliament in the coming monsoon session,” Manmohan Singh said in his opening remarks at the all-party meeting.

Underlining that the Constitution provides for an “intricate system of checks and balances”, the PM said that the new institution of Lokpal has to find an appropriate place in that matrix.”

Nonetheless, there was a consensus at the meeting that setting up of the institution of Lokpal should not undermine the established Parliamentary processes of enacting a law.

The meeting, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence of 7, Race Course Road was aimed at evolving a consensus over the contentious provisions in the draft Lokpal Bill.

The minutes of the meeting include inclusion of the Prime Minister, higher judiciary, MPs’ conduct inside Parliament and CBI’s anti-corruption wing in the ambit of Lokpal.

Emerging from the meeting, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told the media, “We clearly said that BJP wants a strong and effective Lokpal who is selected transparently and be able to function independently.”

Swaraj further added that the bill should be referred to the Parliament’s Standing Committee so that all political parties, state governments and members of civil society are able to present their views. “After due consultations, the bill may be passed in the Winter Session,” she said.

Sharp differences surfaced in the meeting on various provisions of the proposed legislation. Main Opposition BJP, which kept its cards close to its chest on the contentious issues, said it has serious differences over the Lokpal draft with regard to jurisdiction and process of selection and removal of the Lokpal.

“We have serious differences on who should come within the purview of the Lokpal, the appointment mechanism, who is eligible to be appointed and who should initiate removal of Lokpal, among other issues,” Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Swaraj too echoed, “We have serious differences over several provisions of the draft prepared by the ministers.”

At the meeting, the government came under attack from opposition BJP for engaging with civil society in drafting of Lokpal bill before consulting political parties.

Sushma Swaraj complained that the government had set aside Constitutional and political processes and tried to draft the bill with civil society. “It is only when you got stuck, you remembered us,” she told the government.

Responding to criticism, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the government had under no circumstances wanted to tamper with the established procedures to enact a law.

When the bill is tabled in Parliament, it will be the property of Parliament, Mukherjee added.

Interestingly, a number of regional parties, except AIADMK, are in favour of including the Prime Minister in the ambit of Lokpal but not the higher judiciary. AIADMK is of the view that bringing the Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal would encourage frivolous complaints and derail the process.

Key UPA constituent DMK and a number of other smaller parties like AGP, INLD and TDP favour the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal. The Left parties share the same view. In fact, DMK even wanted the higher judiciary to be brought under it. And AGP felt judiciary should be brought under scrutiny of national judicial commission.

The all-party meeting comes a day after Gandhian Anna Hazare met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to seek her support for the Jan Lokpal bill – the civil society’s version of the bill.

Hazare on Saturday had declared he will go on a fast from August 16 if a comprehensive legislation is not brought to parliament.

“If a half-baked bill is sent to parliament, what will the parliament discuss?” Hazare had said yesterday after the meeting with the Congress president at her 10 Janpath residence.