Angered by a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office and allegations that his supporters were anti-national, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare today said it was a tactic by the government to distract people from the issue of corruption.
“It is not right for government to call us anti-national. They have alleged there is a ‘foreign hand’ backing us but have given no details,” he told reporters today, adding that he was willing to face punishment if found guilty.
“We have been agitating for a Jan Lokpal. I am still campaigning for it. The government is making allegations to distract people from it,” he said.
Accusing the government of attempting to distract people from the issue of corruption and an anti-corruption ombudsman by making allegations against him and his supporters, Hazare said that the country needed strong laws to tackle corruption.
“That Sami (Minister V Narayanasamy) says we don’t have strength to fight this battle. Should I give (slap) him with both hands? But that wouldn’t be right on my part,” the anti-corruption activist said.
Hazare accused the government of betrayal in the implementation of the Lokpal Bill and said their claims that they had consulted with Team Anna prior to the draft bill being circulated in Parliament was false.
“Our version of the draft Lokpal bill was ready. They could have put our version before the cabinet as well,” he said, adding that the government was presently pushing through a law in which they had not consulted with people for their suggestions.
“There can be no dispute that laws will continue to be passed in Parliament but the draft of the law should be made using opinions from people. That is democracy,” he said.
“It is evident there is no will power on the part of the government to implement the legislation and they are distracting people,” Hazare said.
He also denied the claims by the PMO that there were any discrepancies in the accounting for his anti-corruption movement and said the government would do well to increase transparency in their own finances.
“We have done an audit of our accounts constantly which are available in the public domain but they have accused us of corruption. When the government doesn’t give an honest account of it’s finances how can it ask questions of our organisation?” Hazare said.
He also brushed aside the PMOs claims that there was no evidence in the CAG report against the Prime Minister saying,”Smoke is always accompanied by fire. They should investigate the allegations.”
Hazare said the government should make public the status of investigations against each of the 14 ministers who are accused of corruption and said there was sufficient evidence charges against them.