Anna begins fast, govt says Lokpal Bill on priority list

LokpalThe Government on Tuesday said it will pass the Lokpal Bill during the current session of Parliament

On a day when social activist Anna Hazare began his indefinite fast, the government said on Tuesday that it is serious about passing the Lokpal Bill in the current session of parliament.

"As far as the Lokpal Bill is concerned, I have given notice to Rajya Sabha chairman for taking it up... the government is taking all sincere steps to pass the Lokpal Bill," said Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy in Delhi, blaming the opposition for stalling the proceedings of the house.

Meanwhile, Hazare said he would continue his fast till the Bill is passed, warning against efforts to evict him forcibly. "It has been brought to my notice that the minister has told the media that the Lokpal Bill will be passed in this session. My question is why did he have to inform the media about his intention? If he is determined, he should take steps to pass the Bill," he said.

The first day of his fast saw few people in attendance. Asked about this, Hazare said he had asked people to protest in their own places. "Crowd gathering is not our work," he said. He said AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had not contacted him or expressed support for his agitation.

Senior AAP leaders said the party had issued a directive asking its members not to support Hazare's agitation under the party's banner. Sources said the directive was issued in view of Hazare's recent letter to Kejriwal stating that his name should not be used for electioneering purposes.

"He has said no political party is welcome. But those who individually wish to join him should do so," said party spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat met Hazare on Tuesday. Stating that he had been sent by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Thorat said, "Anna is not that young any more, so I have requested him to take care of his health."

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