Apolitical Anna Hazare on Sunday launched a direct political attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allegedly “cheating” him on the lokpal bill and warned the government of a fresh fast on the issue. Hazare said he would review his resolve of not going on a fast again if the government did not pass his version of the jan lokpal bill before the 2014 elections.
“Our fight for jan lokpal bill will continue till it is passed by the government. I will campaign throughout the country and try to raise the conscience of the people. I will try to bring in a change,” he told reporters after inaugurating his new office in South Delhi.
Referring to his 13-day fast at Ramlila Maidan in August last year, Hazare alleged that the Prime Minister had “cheated” him by saying that they have passed a resolution to incorporate his demands in the lokpal bill.
“If there was no such promise (by the Prime Minister), I would not have broken my fast. The Prime Minister gave a promise and then I broke the fast. He has cheated me by not keeping the promise… We do not support the government version of the bill,” Hazare said.
Though he has consistently maintained that he has nothing to do with politics, Hazare did not hesitate to take a dig at the country’s political leadership, saying there was no scarcity of leaders but the problem was their involvement in scams.
Anna Hazare addresses a press conference in New Delhi as Medha Patekar, Kiran Bedi and other members of his team look on. HT/Gurinder Osan
“Yes, our team has spilt. But I believe both the paths are necessary. We thought that politics is not our way. We will not be enemies. A volunteer can choose his path. They should be clear in their mind. It should not be that they change minds frequently,” he said.