Will accept Parliament decision to reject Lokpal Bill: Hazare

Anna Hazre
New Delhi, Apr 17: In an apparent softening of stand, Anna Hazare today said Parliament was supreme and would accept its decision if it rejects the Lokpal Bill.

Hazare also showed some flexibility on the August 15 deadline he had set for passage of the Lokpal Bill by Parliament 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," Hazare 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.

Hazare, who called off his fast on April 9 after government notified a Joint Draft Committee, had set August 15 deadline for passage of the bill failing which he would again go on a fast.

"There can be some flexibility once we are convinced that the Bill is on the right track," he said in an informal interaction with a group of journalists.

However, he felt that it could be possible for Parliament to take a decision on the Bill within a month.

Hazare agreed with a questioner that his method of agitation could be called "terrorism of principles" so long the motive behind it was public good.

"It is not wrong to say that we are engaging in terrorism on principles. But it has to have an element of public welfare in it. This is necessary, otherwise it would lead to dictatorship," he said.

Hazare said he was open to have wider consultations on the Lokpal Bill and was also willing to involve the political leadership of the country.

"We have to take everyone into confidence, including the political class. If they have doubts we will discuss with chiefs of political parties," he said.

He said he was open to discuss other drafts of the Lokpal Bill which the government had said it has received from various other organisations.

Hazare admitted that corruption would not end with the passage of the Lokpal Bill, but it would definitely help curb such practices to some extent.

He favoured stricter laws for government servants, including one that made declaration of assets compulsory for every one.

For politicians, he said the law should have provisions for automatic launch of investigations if there was a large difference in the assets declared by them between two consecutive elections.

Dismissing allegations of links with the RSS, Hazare said "I never went close to them nor have I allowed them to get close to me. I have never shared the same dias with RSS".


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