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Is The 'Honest' PM Telling Lies? Questions Anna Hazare

New Delhi, August 1:  Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Anna Hazare on Monday termed as “unfortunate” his justification for keeping his post out of the purview of the proposed Lokpal and wondered whether the “honest”
PTI August 02, 2011 7:50 IST

New Delhi, August 1:  Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Anna Hazare on Monday termed as “unfortunate” his justification for keeping his post out of the purview of the proposed Lokpal and wondered whether the “honest” person was telling lies.

Hazare questioned the government's intentions on the Lokpal Bill and said he was ready to go to jail if he was not allowed to demanding a strong anti-corruption law.

He made it clear that he was not insisting on undertaking the fast at Jantar Mantar because for him the issue is more important than the venue.

Addressing a press conference here, the noted civil rights activist reacted strongly to the Prime Minister's justification of keeping his post out of the ambit of Lokpal.

”This statement is unfortunate. Till now, the people of the country and me too felt that we have an honest and non-corrupt Prime Minister,” Hazare said.

”..our fight is not against Parliament but against the government. I have written a letter to him (PM) and even after that if he is saying this, it is unfortunate. Many people in the government are telling lies. The Prime Minister was a good person and even if he is telling lies then what will happen,” he said but did not elaborate.

Singh yesterday said bringing the office of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal would “not be advisable” and government has taken the decision after “taking all factors into account”. He had earlier favoured inclusion of the office of Prime Minister under Lokpal.

Asked what he would do if the police denies him permission to stage protest in Jantar Mantar, Hazare said he would not insist on sitting at the site. “If they can provide a place where people can reach, where all amenities are provided, then we can go there.

”I don't want people to say that Anna is stubborn on this. Our issue is not Jantar Mantar, our issue is Lokpal,” he said.

Rubbishing suggestions that he was trying to blackmail the government, he said, “It is not that I am very happy to go to fast. Government is forcing us to sit on fast. Why doesn't the government bring a strong Lokpal Bill.”

Hazare said scams would not have taken place if the government listens to the voice of people. “We would not have A Raja committing such corruption if the government had listened to the voice of people,” he said.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said police has not informed them about rejection of permission for conducting the protest at Jantar Mantar.

Hazare, who addressed the press to give out results of “referendum” conducted by the civil activists in Chandni Chowk constituency of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, said overwhelming 85 per cent of people favoured (their version) Jan Lokpal Bill.

He attacked Sibal for alleging that the “referendum” was carried out by Sangh Parivar.

”They sometimes link me with RSS, sometimes with BJP. Never in my life have I linked myself with anyone. We have leaders who have hump. I am a self-made person,” said the activist who hails from Maharashtra.

On the referendum conducted in Chandni Chowk, Hazare said government will have to listen to the voices of people.

Kejriwal said, “Seeing these results the question arises, does Kapil Sibal still represent the people of his constituency?”

Team Anna claimed that the referendum revealed that the elected representatives were not voicing their electorate's wishes. “85 percent of the people surveyed in Sibal's constituency have opted in favour of the provisions proposed by team Anna,” Kejriwal said.

”Four lakh referendum forms were distributed in the constituency, of which 86,000 forms have been collected till now. The referendum forms constituted a questionnaire of 8 questions on components of the bill. The result of 72,000 forms has been compiled, rest 14,000 could not scanned as they got wet due to rains and will be done manually,” he said.

Kejriwal also alleged that there were attempts to derail their exercise. “There were 30 forms from an area which was fully in favour of government provisions. We approached the respondents through the phone number given in these forms and we were told by them that the RWA president collected the forms from them and he filled it,” he said.

However, he said, they did not exclude these forms from the counting.

Claiming that the “interim” results of the referendum showed that an overwhelming 85 per cent of 72,000 responses counted so far was in favour of Jan Lokpal Bill, Hazare said he favoured a national referendum on the issue. PTI