Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anna Hazare says his struggle against corruption will continue

New Delhi, Apr 9: Welcoming the Central government's move to accept public demands for the formulation of Lok Pal Bill, social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday assertedthat his struggle against corruption would continue.

The Gandhian activist said this in New Delhi after he broke his 98-hour fast by drinking juice.

He gave up his indefinite hunger strike after the Central government gave the assurance of setting up a committee comprising civil society and elected representatives to draft the law.

Addressing a huge gathering of supporters, Hazare said that though the hunger strike had been a success, there was still a lot more to be done.

“Our responsibility has increased. We have to now carry out a long journey before corruption is eradicated from this country. We have to march on for true independence,” Hazare said.

Expressing his gratitude to the people, a visibly elated Hazare urged them to continue their support for the movement till the Bill is formally enacted in right earnest.

“If need be, we will again carry out a campaign when the group of ministers discusses the Bill. If the group of ministers approves the Bill, it would be tabled before the lawmakers in the parliament. If the Bill meets with any obstacle there, all of us would protest in front of the parliament with Indian flags on our shoulders,” Hazare said.

Spearheaded by Hazare, the nationwide movement for the formulation of the Bill had steadily gained momentum among the masses, with supporters from various parts of the country converging in New Delhi to espouse the crusader’s cause.

The veteran activist also called for nationwide electoral reforms, stressing on the need of the voters’ to have the novel ‘Right to Rrecall’ and ‘Right to Not Vote’.

“Suppose there are ten candidates who contest an election from a constituency. If the voter believes that all of them are dishonest or corrupt, he should ask the authorities, whom should I vote for? In such a case, there must be an eleventh option, which says ‘dislike all’. If the majority of voters do not like any candidate in a constituency, then the election would be considered null and void. It would have to take place again with new candidates,” Hazare said.

Though the Central government had repeatedly appealed to the veteran activist to end his hunger strike, Hazare refused to relent, even as he continued to attract concerned citizens from all walks of life towards his struggle.

The movement also saw the rise of the youth across India, who stirred the flame of the struggle through active participation.

Lauding the spirit of the youth, Hazare called their unity a ‘ray of hope’ for a better India.

“I would like to specially thank the youth of this country, who participated in this movement in large numbers. The rise of youth power across India is a ray of hope for the nation. Youth power is a symbol of national strength. If youth rise for a cause, then the future of India will be bright,” Hazare said.

Meanwhile, hailing the power of the media, Hazare said that the fourth pillar of democracy had played a major role in strengthening his struggle.

“The media is the fourth pillar of our democracy. The effective role played by the media in this movement shows how changes can be brought if the fourth pillar is strong. The media has shown this to the country. It has shown its true power in this movement,” Hazare said.

The Lok Pal Bill, drafted by social activists, stipulates that probe in any graft case will have to be completed in one year, and punishment would be a jail term of minimum five years and maximum for life.

The bill awaits a select parliamentary committee’s nod of approval and provides for filing complaints of corruption against the Prime Minister, Ministers and lawmakers

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