Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption drive claimed its big first casualty with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday quitting the Group of Ministers(GoM) on corruption, saying he does not want to be “associated” with the panel anymore.
Pawar, the NCP supremo, said that he has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh informing him that he does not want to be remain with the Ministerial panel. The panel is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
“I have told Prime Minister in writing about quitting the GoM on corruption. I have informed him that I don’t want to remain anymore with the panel. I don’t want to be associated with it. The chapter is closed from my side”, Pawar said.
Meanwhile, reacting to Pawar’s resignation, Hazare said, “Sharad Pawar has given resignation from the committee. He should give his resignation from the Ministry also. It does not affect us.”
His action came hours after he said that he would be happy to be relieved from all ministerial panels, including that on corruption.
“I will be happy if you relieve me from all GoMs, including that GoM (on corruption),” Pawar had remarked earlier while replying to a query from reporters whether he was disturbed by Hazare’s comments that the minister should not be part of the GoM on Corruption.
Hazare(72) had said on Monday, “A minister like Sharad Pawar, who is known for possessing large amounts of land in Maharashtra, is heading a committee that will draft the (Lok Pal) Bill!”
On an indefinite fast here since yesterday, Hazare is pressing for enactment of the Lok Pal Bill with stringent measures against corruption.
The social activist, supported by eminent persons, including Kiran Bedi, has been demanding that the drafting committee for the Lok Pal Bill to tackle corruption should include members of civil society.
The ministerial panel on corruption is headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and also comprises Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister M K Alagiri and Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal.IBNLive