Monday, April 11, 2011

Kapil Sibal should resign from panel if he doesn't believe in Lokpal Bill: Anna Hazare

NEW DELHI: Gandhian Anna Hazare on Monday said Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal should resign from the joint committee to draft the Lokpal Bill "if he feels nothing will happen" out of this institution.

Reacting to a reported statement of Sibal on the Lokpal institution, he said, "If Sibal feels that nothing will happen due to the Lokpal Bill then he should resign from the joint committee as soon as possible.

"Why is he wasting his and our time? He should do other things for the country. Why does he want to be in the committee. If you believe that nothing will happen, you should not be there in the joint committee, he should resign and do some other work," he told reporters before he left for his hometown in Maharashtra.

Sibal had yesterday told a public meeting, "I ask this question, if a poor child does not have any means for education, then how will Lokpal Bill help? If a poor man needs help for medical services then he will call up a politician. How will Lokpal Bill help."

Asked about Hazare's demand, Sibal told reporters today that he was with the Gandhian and that he wanted the bill to be drafted as early as possible and to be effective in tackling corruption everywhere.

Clarifying his earlier remarks, he said what he had meant was that "the scope of the bill is different. The problems of the common man are different."

"I said that if you want to educate children, then this has no connection to Lokpal. If there is no convenience of water...Lokpal is only connected to corruption and we will bring a good bill that will stop corruption."

He said they would sit with Hazare and bring out a bill so that the objective will be realised.

Hazare took exception to JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy's remarks that "if Mahatma Gandhi was alive today, he would have either fallen prey to corruption or would have shunned politics itself".

"If our leaders are talking like this, how are you going to root out corruption," the 73-year-old activist, who successfully led the agitation on the Lokpal Bill issue, said.

Activist Kiran Bedi said Sibal should not waste the time of other committee members if he had no faith in its efforts. "Then it is better for him to withdraw from the committee," she said.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said Sibal should not have made "sweeping" statements on the Lokpal which were raising doubts about the "seriousness" of the government in bringing in the legislation.

"If you are not getting ration due to corruption, then you can get relief from this Lokpal. If you are not getting admission in a school, you can get some relief. But if there is no school, then Lokpal will not help you. It is a different domain and government has to do it," he said.

He said the legislation is meant only for tackling corruption.

Questioning the sincerity and seriousness of the government on the issue, Kejriwal said, "Obstacles were put on even small issue like issuing a notification on the setting up of the joint drafting committee.

"Now how many obstacles they will put during the committee meetings, we don't know. We have great fear. May be many more protests are needed," Kejriwal said.

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