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Anna, Kejriwal lock horns over Lokpal Bill

According to agency reports, rubbishing Kejriwal’s contention that the Lokpal Bill under consideration in Parliament was weak, Anna Hazare on Sunday at his village Ralegan Siddhi said, ‘if anyone feels there are shortcomings in the bill after it is passed, they should fast for it.’ Speaking to mediapersons, the crusader said, ‘I have read the provisions of the bill properly.’ Hazare’s fast for passage of Lokpal Bill entered sixth day on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, speaking to mediapersons in Delhi, Kejriwal had said that revised Bill does not contain any of the three most important provisions that the Jan Lokpal Bill, espoused by Hazare and his team, contained. ‘I am really surprised. How can Anna accept Sarkari Lokpal Bill? Sarkari Lokpal is a ‘jokepal’. Who is misguiding Anna?’ Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal further said he was saddened when Anna Hazare said that he would break his fast if the Lokpal Bill is passed in Rajya Sabha, and then in Lok Sabha, eventually obtaining the presidential assent. ‘I can assure you that there would not be a single conviction with this Lokpal in next 10 years. I pondered over who will gain from this Lokpal Bill. I found that Congress would gain and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi will get some credit for its passage,’ Kejriwal said.

On the other hand the septuagenarian agitator said several of his expectations from the legislation have been met and he expressed satisfaction over the bill which has been presented in the Rajya Sabha. ‘Three issues for which we had campaigned in the past, including the Citizen’s Charter, are also being addressed,’ he said.

‘The government’s control over CBI has been removed in this bill. I saw 13 such points and told the government that I welcome this,’ Hazare said. ‘That is why I thought that the bill is beneficial to the people and country,’ he added. Asked about the differences between him and Kejriwal, Hazare said, ‘I don’t wish to comment...Why should we quarrel?’

Thanking major political parties, including Congress and BJP, for supporting the Bill, Hazare said, a few are not supporting it. ‘So, if there is a ruckus while passage of the bill, pass the bill amid ruckus but pass it anyhow,’ he said.

Hazare has been fasting outside Yadavbaba Temple at his village since 10 December. His associate Kiran Bedi said, ‘If some people are saying that the current Lokpal Bill is weak, they haven’t read it properly. They must read it. Kejriwal should reread the bill.’
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