Quit if you cannot bring strong anti-graft law

Bangalore: Taking his campaign for a strong anti-corruption law to the south, Anna Hazare on Saturday asked the Government to quit if it cannot bring an effective Lokpal Bill and accused it of "cheating" the country by doing a volte-face on its promises.

In his address to a huge gathering at the Freedom Park here where he also took part in the `save lokayukta campaign` in Karnataka, he dismissed the draft legislation offered by the government as "worthless".

"Bring Lokpal or go away. What is the need for such a government if it cannot bring a strong Lokpal? This government has become blind and deaf," he said.

The 74-year old activist also lent his support to the campaign in Karnataka to `save Lokayukta` as the ombudsman post is lying vacant caught in the crossfire between the BJP Government and Governor H R Bhardwaj.

The Government has recommended former Kerala High Court Chief justice S R Bannurmath`s name for the post, but Bhardwaj has rejected it insisting he wants a `spotless` man for job.

Hazare, who spread his campaign on the Lokpal issue to the south and would be in Chennai tomorrow, said "The draft is worthless. Bring a fresh bill. We had prepared a good bill.

Government said why will they take a bill from outside? Are we outsiders?" Continuing his tirade against the UPA Government, he said it had ?cheated? the entire country and that he will carry on his campaign `until his last breath`.

"The government has done a volte face by rejecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s promise to include the Citizen`s charter, lower bureaucracy and establishment of Lok Ayuktas in the states," he said.

Singh is a `good man`, but "he is remote-controlled" by Congress High Command, Hazare said indirectly targeting AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Later responding to a query on Hazare skipping reference to the delay in appointment Karnataka Lokayukta, Team Anna member and former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde said, "I don`t think you should read between the lines."

The fact that Hazare was present at the `Save Lokayukta` campaign itself was testimony to his fight for appointment of a spotless Lokayukta in Karnataka, Hegde said.

On the Prime Minister`s assurance that all efforts would be taken to pass the Lokpal Bill in current Parliament session, another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said, "If government would have added to say that it would extend the session to help passing Lokpal Bill, it would have been assuring …"

But she added: "To me, it is halfway through. The rest of the 50 per cent is that the Parliament resolves to pass the bill," she told reporters here.

Hegde questioned the government for giving precedence to FDI in retail over Lokpal Bill in Parliament. "Where was the necessity to discuss FDI in retail over Lokpal Bill?"