Mumbai/New Delhi, Dec 26: Showing no signs of relenting, Anna Hazare today said he will go ahead with his three-day fast in Mumbai from tomorrow against a “weak” Lokpal Bill with his team raising the pitch for an independent probe agency for the ombudsman saying it was “non-negotiable” even as government asked him to wait till Parliament decides on the legislation.
Amid concerns over his health as he was suffering from viral infection, 74-year-old Hazare said he will go ahead with his protest and claimed that his movement was not against any side, person or party.
“For 25 years we have been fighting corruption. Congress people feel that this movement is against them. Tell us, how many times in 25 years have we led movements against you?” he said a day before his fast in MMRDA grounds here.
In New Delhi, the government asked the activist to wait for the outcome of the debate on Lokpal Bill in Parliament tomorrow before launching his agitation. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said everyone should leave it to Parliament to decide on the Lokpal as it is in its domain now.
Hazare's close aide Prashant Bhushan told a press conference in national capital that the four demands they raised in an open letter to MPs were “non-negotiable” and they were ready to call off gherao of MPs' houses if government was ready for amendments.
The demands were Lokpal and Lokayuktas 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.
“The four changes are non-negotiable...for other changes we can continue our fight later,” Bhushan said.
“Anna will arrive in Delhi on December 30 for dharna outside a MP's house...it could be Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi's residence...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),” Bhushan said.
In Kolkata, Pranab Mukherjee said it was Parliament to decide what should be the final shape of Lokpal. Hazare said people from several areas of the Maharashtra are going to come to Mumbai while people from many states of the country would reach Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, despite the cold there.
“After being asked not once but several times they (government) have still not created an anti-corruption law. Out of compulsion this movement has been launched,” he added.
Hitting at the political class, Hazare said that they were busy in a cycle of money through power and then power through money.
Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said the movement was not aligned with anyone in particular and that it was only fighting to achieve an “independent” and “non-partisan” CBI.
“We are aligned with no one in particular but support anyone or any force that wants a corruption-free country. And to achieve that we need an independent, non-partisan CBI,” she said.
Tight security arrangements have been made at Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds where Hazare will be sitting on protest.
The security ring will comprise 2,000 constables, 200 sub-inspectors of police, six platoons of state reserve police force, three teams of Quick Response Team and two Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads.