Anna breaks silence, threatens to campaign against UPA

New Delhi : Anna Hazare, who broke his 19-day vow of silence Friday, threatened to campaign against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the five election-bound states if a strong Lokpal bill was not passed in the winter session of parliament.

“The government’s intentions about a strong Lokpal bill are not clear. If they will not pass the Jan Lokpal bill in the winter session, then I along with other members (of Team Anna) will campaign against the government,” Hazare told reporters after breaking his ‘maun vrat’ at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat here.

Hazare, who had written to the prime minister recently threatening to launch another hunger strike if the Lokpal bill was not passed in the Nov 22-Dec 21 winter session, said his fight against corruption would go on.

After the winter session, he would travel across the country campaigning for the Jan Lokpal Bill, Team Anna’s version of the ombudsman legislation.

“During the assembly elections in five states, we will hold sit-in protests in each and campaign against the Congress. We will categorically ask people not to vote for the party that is not serious about a strong anti-corruption law.”

Asked if he would support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the assembly elections, he said: “There is no difference between the Congress and the BJP. One is a graduate, the other postgraduate.”

Team Anna also held discussions on the provisions of the bill ahead of their meeting Friday with the Parliamentary Standing Committee that is examining the Lokpal bill.

Hazare accused the government of trying to weaken the bill by bringing separate bills for a citizens’ charter and to protect whistleblowers.

He appealed to the government to follow the model of the Uttarakhand Lokayukta.

“It is a wonderful bill and I congratulate the state for taking a daring decision. I am hopeful that the scenario will change in Uttarakhand soon, and poor people will see justice in the state,” he said.

After breaking his ‘maun vrat’ Friday morning, Hazare said he had observed to regain power to fight for a strong Lokpal bill and against corruption.

“I visited the Gandhi’s memorial today (Friday) morning and broke the maun vrat which I observed since Oct 16. The vow of silence was not against any individual or any political party, but to regain energy,” he said.

“After the 12-day fast in Ramlila Maidan, my body became weak. I lost 7 kg of weight so I had to observe maun vrat. Now after the vow of silence my body is back to normal, I regained the power to fight for Jan Lokpal bill and against corruption,” Hazare said.

“My health has become absolutely fine… I now have more inspiration to fight for Lokpal. I have got the energy again to fight for the Lokpal bill and I don’t care what people say,” he added.

During his maun vrat, he had been putting forward his views through his writings that were then read out by his aides or through his blog.

The five states going to polls next year are Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur.

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