FDI standoff an excuse not to bring Lokpal, alleges Hazare

Ralegan-Siddhi (Maharashtra) : Anna Hazare Friday accused the central government of prolonging the parliament stalemate over the issue of foreign equity in retail as an excuse not to bring the Lokpal bill.

“So many parties are saying don’t bring FDI in retail, but the government is adamant. What kind of democracy is this,” he said.

“What I feel is that they don’t want to bring the Jan Lokpal (the civil society’s version of Lokpal), so they are stretching it. Government has no will to bring Jan Lokpal so it is prolonging resolution of FDI issue,” he added.

Parliament has not been able to function for the past nine days over the issue of foreign equity in retail and other contentious matters due to vociferous opposition protests.

Hazare said he was planning to visit the five states where assembly elections are scheduled early next year and hold protests there.

“I will go to five states to awaken people. I will have two-three days’ dharna in every state,” he added.

The activist also said he is protesting in New Delhi starting Dec 27 for a strong Lokpal.

“We have eight-day permission for fast presently. After that they will not let me sit, then I will leave the fast and start on a tour of the five states and tell them they are being cheated,” he added.

He said the Parliamentary Standing Committee examining the Lokpal bill had decided to include the Group C employees – the bottom layer of government officials. But in a volte face, the panel Thursday decided to exclude them from the proposed purview of the Lokpal.

“The whole standing committee decided that they will bring class C under Lokpal and yesterday suddenly they called the meeting again and said only class one and two will be under Lokpal, leaving out three and four.”

“If they don’t bring class C, how will they eradicate corruption? What option do they have, their corruption affects the poor most. Today, the poor are concerned only with class 3 and 4, they don’t go to class one directly. They go to Class 2, 3, 4; and if they are left out, how will people get justice? This is totally wrong,” he added.

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