Anna ups the ante
Says Will Not End Fast Till Bill Is Passed
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Aug 19: Upping the ante, Anna Hazare today gave a 12 day deadline to the government to pass the Jan Lokpal bill failing which he will continue his fast "till my last breath".
At the same time, Team Anna said that a dialogue with the government is the only way out although they will not compromise on corruption.
Addressing a press conference at Ramlila Grounds where he moved from Tihar Jail earlier in the day to begin his 15-day protest, Hazare made a surprise announcement that he would not leave the fast venue till the bill is passed.
"I have made the decision of my life. It is up to the government to pass the bill. If the bill is not passed in this (on going) session, then I will continue my fast till my last breath," the 73-year-old Gandhian told reporters at the fast venue.
Replying to questions whether he was shifting the goalpost after agreeing to restrict the fast to a fortnight, Hazare's close associate Arvind Kejriwal said "Anna Hazare will be here."
The Delhi Police Commissioner has agreed that the fast can be extended by a week on four days' notice, he said.
Hazare said "We have permission till September 2 but if by August 30 the bill is not passed then people will be asked to fill jails across the country."
"We are willing to have a discussion with the government with an open mind but there cannot be any compromise on corruption," Hazare aid Prashant Bhushan said.
"....Resolution of problems comes through only negotiations," Kejriwal, another associate said.
Hazare said, "first introduce the Jan Lokpal bill. I have gone to the People's Parliament. Till the bill is not passed, I am not going to leave this place. I am saying this on behalf of people."
His toughening of stand came on the fourth day of his fast that began in police detention on Tuesday morning and continued throughout his stay in Tihar jail from which he came out today to a huge welcome by his supporters.
Hazare said he has "made the decision of my life" that he will not give up the fast till the Jan Lokpal is passed.
Maintaining that the government has majority in both Parliament and the Standing Committee, he said it was up to the government to see how it will get the bill passed.
Asked about Justice Santosh Hegde's comments that Team Hazare could consider keeping Prime Minister and higher judiciary out of Lokpal, Kejriwal said it was Hegde's personal opinion and Anna Campaign has not changed its stand. But he also said that there was no differences within the team.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 20 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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