Social activist Anna Hazare’s fast unto death dharna has entered the third day on Thursday, and there is already one big casualty among political bigwigs with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar quitting the GoM on corruption.
However, Hazare still demands that Pawar should be removed as minister too.
The UPA government is likely to send one of its troubleshooters to negotiate with Hazare. Sources said that at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister spoke to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, who said the government should reach out but not give in to demands completely.
Spontaneous protests on Wednesday stopped politicians trying to reach out to Anna Hazare. The message is clear – there is no place for politicians in a people’s darbar against corruption.
Anna Hazare who has been fasting for two days sent out a curt message to the Prime Minister and the political parties – don’t mess around.
“Unhappy that instead of solving the issue of corruption, Government is more bothered about speculating on our movement. I have heard that people have said that I have been cornered into fasting. This is an insult to my intelligence and wisdom. I have exercised my restraint. We have eight versions of the Lokpal Bill. You (the Prime Minister) haven’t passed the weak version. Please do not mislead the nation, by telling that we are not ready to talk,” Hazare wrote in the letter.
“You have said that the Government has initiated certain processes. Some of the people drafting the legislation should have been in jail. Should I have faith in these processes? If you were in my place, would you still have faith in these processes?” he asked.
“I am not a child and please don’t doubt my wisdom. I take suggestion from my colleague, but make my own decision. We were not getting any response from the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. They did not send any reply to three of my letters, that’s why I decide to go on fast-unto-death,” he wrote.
As Hazare’s movement gains momentum, parties rush in. For the BJP, it’s a chance to strengthen its campaign before assembly elections, while for the Congress, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Sensing the mood, the Congress and the government moved in their crisis managers.
Law Minister Veerappa Moily who is also reframing the Lokpal bill has promised to incorporate some suggestions.
“Even on the demand for joint committee, we said we were open. We never closed our mind even on the formation of joint committee…In principle we did not say no,” Moily said adding, that the Prime Minister was open to all suggestions on the bill.
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, sensing the public mood, supported Anna.
The government which is snowed by scams is now careful not to take on Hazare, the people’s face in the fight against corruption.
The BJP on a bit of a backfoot after an aggressive speech by the PM in the Parliament has bounced back on the strength of Hazare’s fast.
Government sources have admitted that they are in a bit of a bind, that they underestimated the strength of Hazare’s campaign, and though it would want the hunger strike to end soon, it doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the political space either. IBNLIVE