Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quit panel if you doubt Lokpal’s effectiveness, Hazare tells Sibal

Updated on Monday, April 11, 2011, 23:31

 New Delhi: Controversy dogged the joint committee set up to draft an effective Lokpal Bill even before it starts its work with Gandhian Anna Hazare on Monday asking HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to resign from it "if he feels nothing will come" out of this institution.

His colleagues in the campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, also slammed Sibal, who, however, denied having made any such statement and that he was with Hazare for drafting a strong anti-corruption legislation.

The 73-year-old social activist, who fought a successful battle for constitution of a 10-member committee of ministers and civil society representatives, 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." 

Before leaving for his village Ralegaon Siddhi in Maharashtra, he told reporters, "Why is he (Sibal) 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."

The committee, chaired by senior minister Pranab Mukherjee, is to hold its first meeting on April 16 and is expected to come out with its draft of the Bill by June 30.

Sibal had yesterday told a public meeting here, "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 yesterday's remarks, he said what he had meant was that "the scope of the Bill is different. The problems of the common man are different." 

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