PM asks Anna not to fast (Lead)

August 15th, 2011 - 10:12 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday obliquely appealed to Gandhian Anna Hazare, who will fast from Tuesday in support of a strong Lokpal, not to go on hunger strike.

Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India’s 65th Independence Day, Singh said that those who don’t agree with some aspects of a proposed Lokpal legislation “should not resort to hunger strikes”.

But he did not mention Hazare by name.

“We want a strong Lokpal to prevent corruption in high places. We have recently introduced a bill in parliament to achieve this,” said Singh. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha Aug 4.

“Now only parliament can decide what type of Lokpal legislation should be enacted,” he said.

He said he was “aware of the differences of opinion on some aspects of the bill.”

“Those who don’t agree with this bill can put forward their views to parliament, political parties and even the press. However, I also believe that they should not resort to hunger strikes and fasts unto death.”

Hazare has vowed to go on hunger strike here from Tuesday against the government’s version of the Lokpal that keeps prime minister and judiciary out of its ambit.

The prime minister also said it was not right to bring the judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal as this would go against the independence of the judiciary.

“It is with this aim that we have introduced the Judicial Accountability Bill in parliament. I am confident this bill will be passed soon.”

Team Anna and the central government has been sporadically involved in a war of words since April when Hazare fasted for a strong Lokpal.

The cabinet has cleared the government version of the Lokpal bill, which has angered civil society members.

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