PMO invites Hazare for discussions, Hazare miffed

March 3rd, 2011 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Days after veteran activist Anna Hazare threatened to go on indefinite fast if the prime minister did not respond to his requests on the Lokpal Bill, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Thursday invited him for a discussion. Hazare was, however, miffed at the tenor of the invitation.

“We would be very happy to have a discussion with the PM if we are intimated a date and time, mutually convenient to all of us. We should also be intimated the agenda of the same,” Hazare said in a statement released here.

He however said that the invitation was not good enough and complained of a “casual and unprofessional” treatment by the PMO.

“We did get a call from PMO asking me when I would come to Delhi next. They assumed that was a good enough way of telling me that I have been invited for a talk on Jan Lokpal Bill. I have been in public life for more than 40 years now. If I am being treated in this casual and
unprofessional manner, what would happen to the million of citizens who are desperately knocking on the doors of the prime minister for the delivery of basic justice. It is hurting to say the very least,” Hazare said.

Hazare, at a press conference last Saturday, threatened to go on an indefinite fast from April 5 if the prime minister did not respond to his request of including the civil society in formulation of the anti graft Lokpal bill.

“Scores of our letters written to the PM earlier have remained unacknowledged. To cite a few, letters dated October 26, November 14, December 1, January 28, January 30 and February 2 sent by India Against Corruption to the prime minister were not responded to,” Hazare complained.

“When Swami Agnivesh met the PM last week and enquired about these letters, the PMO could locate those letters with great difficulty. The prime minister acknowledged that the letters had not even been placed before him. It is worrisome that letters are placed so selectively before him that only letters of threat of a fast get PMO’s attention,” he said.

The Lokpal Bill, 2010, which awaits a select parliamentary committee’s nod, creates an ombudsman body and also provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, ministers and MPs.

However, the activists say that the Lokpal bill in its present form is toothless and have drafted a separate Jan Lokpal bill taking view and suggestions from civil society and common people in account.

The activists’ bill demands that the Lokpal and Lokayukta, who will be the corruption watchdogs, be independent bodies unlike the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is under the government and can not function independently. It also emphasises on time-bound investigation.

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