Hazare to continue fast till all demands are met

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Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Aug 24: Amid hectic efforts to break the deadlock over Lokpal Bill, Anna Hazare today remained stiff on three issues on which his team has differences with government and said he will continue his fast till all demands are met.

As his indefinite hunger strike demanding a strong Lokpal Bill entered the ninth day, Hazare said the government has no intention to eradicate corruption even today and it is not honest in its effort in this regard.

Team Anna and government's chief interlocutor Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday did not reach an agreement on three "sticky" issues -- citizen's charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and setting up of Lokayukta in state through Lokpal.

"On Tuesday, the government agreed to our demands but kept a decision pending on three issues," a frail-looking Hazare told the gathering at Ramlila Maidan where he is sitting on fast.

"If the demands are not met, I have decided that I will fight till my last breath," he said.

"From village to mantralaya, everyone should be brought under Lokpal," the 74-year-old Gandhian said, adding "it has become very difficult for the poor to avail any service since the chain of corruption went from bottom to top." He said from getting a ration card, kerosene and health services, nothing can be done without paying a bribe. "This chain has to be broken," he said.

Team Anna has been demanding that the whole bureaucracy should be brought under the ambit of Lokpal while the government is of the view that only officers above the level of Under Secretary should come within its purview. 

On the demand for citizen's charter, Hazare said government offices should display a board which gives details about the officers and what services will be available there.

"It should specify in how many days you will get the service you seek. If any officer fails to provide the service in the time specified by the charter, he can be punished by Lokpal. It does not end here, Lokpal should also have powers to dismiss him," he said.

Claiming that elected representatives and government employees were hand-in-glove in corruption, he said there was a need for a citizen''s charter so that erring officials can be punished.

Hazare said he would not go back on the demand for ensuring the setting of Lokayukta at state-level along with Lokpal at the centre.

Meanwhile, concerns mounted over Hazare's health after he refused doctors' advice to be be put on an intravenous drip once again this morning even though he has increased his intake of fluid.

The 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader has lost another 200 grams in the past 24 hours with his weight settling at 66.2 kg. He was 72 kg before he began his fast on August 16.

His blood pressure was recorded at 104/86 while blood sugar was 106 and pulse rate 82.

"After his intake of fluid was increased, his health has stabilised. We have put the team of doctors on full alert. We are keeping a strict vigil on his health," Dr Naresh Trehan told reporters at the Ramlila Ground after examining him.

Trehan, who along with his team is monitoring Hazare''s health, said the Gandhian's water intake has been increased after he refused to be put on IV drips.

He said the doctors had asked Hazare to cooperate with them and take IV drip but he refused, saying his "inner conscience" does not allow him to do so.

PTI

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