New Delhi, Apr 18: Backtracking on his yesterday's statement, Anna Hazare today stuck to his August 15 deadline for passage of the Lokpal Bill failing which he will resort to agitation.
“The joint drafting committee has a mandate to produce a strong Jan Lokpal bill which will be sent to Parliament. We hope that all political parties will vote as per the wishes of the people, which is overwhelmingly in favour of a strong Bill.
“Parties that vote against the Bill will be eventually hurting their popularity and exposing their mala fide intentions. In such an event, we will again take to streets,” Hazare said in a statement here.
At an interaction with Marathi journalists here yesterday, Hazare appeared to be flexible on the August 15 deadline saying he was open to extending it if he found that the government was on the right path.
“We will have to accept it. We believe in democracy,” he had said in reply to a question on what would be his stand if Parliament rejected the Lokpal Bill drafted jointly by the government and representatives of the civil society.
Reacting to media reports, Hazare said today that the deadline for preparation of the draft bill remains June 30, immediately after which it should be presented in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
“Even the government has admitted that it is realistic for Parliament to deliberate and take a decision on the JLB by the August 15 deadline set by me. Thus failure of this deadline will invite mass protests by the people,” he said.
He said people being the masters need to monitor Parliament's decisions in a functioning democracy. This was true as Parliament has failed to pass a Lokpal Bill for the past 42 years.
In addition, significant number of elected representatives have used money, muscle power, election fraud, misinformation in the media to win seats, undermining the sanctity and credibility of the parliamentary system, he said adding the citizens will have to ensure that a strong Lokpal Bill is passed.
He also said that confusion was being created in the media through government sources that the civil society has climbed down in the first Joint Drafting Committee meeting held on Saturday.
“It was rumoured that we agreed to the exclusion of the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and judiciary from Lokpal's purview. Civil Society members have certainly not agreed to any of the above. Jan Lokpal bill version 2.2 was presented to the Government of India at the first meeting,” he said. PTI