IAC defiant in its campaign against political corruption


Staff member
New Delhi: The government would do well to understand that the people's movement launched by social activist Anna Hazare will not give up easily on the Lokpal Bill.

Encouraged by the mass support for its version of the bill in telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal's Chandni Chowk constituency, Hazare's team is now conducting a similar ‘referendum' in Amethi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Volunteers from many non-government organisations associated with Hazare-led India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign have already distributed forms in the five assembly segments — Tiloi, Salon, Jagdishpur, Gauriganj and Amethi — which fall under the constituency, considered a stronghold of the Gandhi family.

Arvind Kejriwal, who is among the leading voices in the IAC campaign, said: "We have been conducting a referendum in Amethi since July 25 and it will be on until August 9 [Sunday], during which time at least 100,000 forms will be distributed and the results will be declared the same day. The forms contain questions about the Lokpal Bill."

Referendum online

Similar surveys are being conducted in Mumbai, Nagpur, Wardha and Amravati in Maharashtra. The team has also taken the referendum on the bill online to mobilise support and create awareness.

Reacting sharply to the on-going surveys, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: "If they are so confident of themselves, they should come to Parliament through elections and then tamper with the Constitution of India in the manner they feel like."

With the August 16 protest deadline drawing closer, when Hazare threatens to sit on an indefinite hunger strike, the issue is coming to boiling point.

Not mincing his words, Hazare said: "The issue is that corruption needs to be rooted out. People can't be taken for a ride."

Key demands

The confrontational attitude of Hazare and team arose soon after the Cabinet approved a draft of the bill ignoring key demands of the civil society representatives for including the prime minister, chief justice, judges and MPs coming under the purview of the bill.

Meanwhile, after being denied permission to hold the protest at Jantar Mantar, in a letter sent to the Delhi Police Commissioner, Hazare has suggested five new venues.

These include Rajghat, Ramlila Grounds, Shaheed Park, Court Club or a portion of Jantar Mantar towards Ashoka Road in the city.

But so angry is the government that it suggested Hazare lead his team of protestors to an alternative site on the outskirts of the city, with Burari in north Delhi or Ajmal Khan Park in west Delhi the possibilities.