Hours ahead of the three-day fast for a strong Lokpal, Team Anna Monday cited four “non-negotiable” demands, including providing an independent probe agency for the ombudsman, to resolve the issue and said they could call off their ‘jail bharo’ agitation if government agrees to their version.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said a three-day relay fast, led by Shanti Bhushan, will be held at Ramlila Maidan from Tuesday between 10 am and 6 pm to support Hazare who will be on hunger strike in Mumbai.
“In the open letter to the Prime Minister and MPs, Team Anna has asked for four changes, which are non-negotiable… for other changes we can continue our fight later,” he said.
The demands were Lokpal and Lok Ayuktas should have power to suo moto initiate their own investigations, the obmudsman should be able to carry out independent probe, selection of Lokpal should be through consensus of selection panel and bringing lower bureaucracy under direct control of Lokpal.
“If Lokpal has an independent investigative wing, the government can keep control over CBI,” he told reporters.
On the selection of the Lokpal, Bhushan said it should be through the consensus of the selection panel and not as suggested in the Government’s version of the Bill, and the Lokpal’s removal should be independent of government’s control.
“Anna will arrive in Delhi on December 30 for dharna outside an MP’s house…it could be Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi as that can be decided…It will depend on what transpires in Parliament. If there are indications that Parliament or the government is ready for amendments then there will be no need for it (dharna),” he said.
Bhushan said people have been requested to hold dharna outside houses of MPs who either oppose a strong Lokpal Bill or support the government bill in Parliament. “But we can call off this, if government brings in amendments to address the four points,” he said.
The Team Anna members also said they were not against any political party or MP, since it shows that the government is not ready to accept the views of 80% of the population.
“The statements by Sonia Gandhi and the government shows that power has gone to their head and they understand only one language — of vote, so we have asked the people of five poll bound states not to vote for those who opppose the Jan Lokpal Bill,” Bhushan said.
When asked about Election Commission’s view that they will keep a watch on Team Anna members, he said, they have the right to keep an eye on everyone, but we will not violate any code and just make the common man aware of which party is against the Bill.
Alleging that verbal attacks on Anna Hazare was an effort by the government to provoke youth and defame the movement, Team Anna members made an appeal to all to maintain calm during the agitation.