Rafale would not have happened if Lokpal was implemented: Anna Hazare

New Delhi: A scam like Rafale would not have happened if Lokpal Bill was implemented, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare said on Monday while announcing his indefinite hunger strike from January 30 demanding setting up of Lokpal and Lokayuktas, farm loan waiver and one-time pension for farmers.

Hazare said he didn’t understand how a company which was formed in March was given the contract in April “without any prior experience”. “I have some papers on Rafale and I will study them and address the issue again,” he said while addressing the media.

Hazare also announced that he will be going on “fast until death” from January 30 in his village Ralegan Siddhi to demand the setting up of Lokpal and Lokayukta.

He said that the Narendra Modi government was ignoring the decisions of the constitutional bodies on the Lokpal Bill and trying to take the country towards “dictatorship”.

“To run the country on democratic principles, Parliament has been set up as a constitutional body. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha both passed the Lokpal bill, the Supreme Court then repeatedly asked about Lokpal and despite this, your government is not ready to appoint Lokpal.

“What kind of government is this which does not listen to constitutional bodies? What is the difference between a ‘baniya’ shop (ration shop) and the government? A government which does not implement the decision of its constitutional bodies is trying to take the country away from democracy to dictatorship. I think this is a threat to our democracy,” Hazare said.

The Lokpal bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2013, and in the Lok Sabha on December 18, 2013. On January 1, 2014, the President gave his assent to the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas act.

Farmers’ group Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM) said farmers from across the country will join the hunger strike by Hazare to demand full implementation of the MS Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations; establishment of Lokpal and Lokayukta; complete farm loan waiver; minimum support prices for vegetables, fruits and milk, and a pension of Rs 5,000 per month for farmers above the age of 60 who do not have any other source of income.