India’s anti-corruption leader to fast

Anna Hazare to start indefinite fast against federal government reluctance to pass an anti-corruption law.

Anna Hazare triggered a nationwide anti-corruption campaign with his fast in 2011 [AP Photos]
Anna Hazare triggered a nationwide anti-corruption campaign with his fast in 2011 [AP Photos]

India’s anti-corruption icon Anna Hazare has threatened to go on indefinite hunger-strike in protest against the federal government’s disdain towards a law, pending passage in parliament, that aims to penalise those involved in dirty deals.

On a day when Hazare’s protégé Arvind Kejriwal is basking in the electoral success of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, won on an an anti-corruption plank, the 76-year-old crusader announced he would start his fast on Tuesday at his village Ralegaon Siddhi in western Maharashtra state.

Hazare, who engineered the anti-corruption movement with an indefinite fast on April 5, 2011, sparked off a nationwide campaign in support of his action. Four days later, a stunned federal government accepted his demand to enact a law, the lokpal bill, in parliament.

The bill seeks to set up an independent institution of ombudsman to investigate accusations of corruption in government.

The bill however has not cleared parliament as yet, with opposition to it in the upper house (Rajya Sabha).
Hazare’s fast is to pressure parliament into passing the anti-corruption legislation with some variations, called the Jan Lokpal bill (people’s ombudsman).

Media reports quoting Hazare said the reason for the Congress doing badly in the assembly elections was due to its failure to pass the people’s anti-corruption legislation.

Interestingly, Hazare fell out with his protégé Kejriwal over the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has performed spectacularly in the elections to the Delhi assembly.

Hazare, in a conciliatory gesture, has wished Kejriwal the best and has predicted he will be the chief minister of Delhi state some day.

Hazare said he had warned of a fast if the anti-corruption legislation was not passed before the winter session of parliament. Since the session had started and the legislation not forthcoming, he was going ahead with his protest, reports quoting him said.

Source : Al Jazeera

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