Anna Hazare’s fresh ultimatum to the government

Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday issued a fresh ultimatum to the government to pass a strong Jan Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament, failing which he would go on an indefinite fast for the third time this year.

The government, however, expressed surprise, saying there was no need for it as the Lokpal Bill will be passed in the winter session. The session is likely to be held from November 22 to December 23.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the first after his own team was hit by controversies, Hazare, said he would not campaign against any party in the assembly elections due in five states early next year.

This marks a shift in Team Anna’s strategy as it had campaigned against the Congress in the Hisar bypolls last month. Hazare reminded the PM that he had merely suspended his 12-day hunger strike in August, following an assurance from Singh that a strong bill would be passed in the winter session.

On your behalf, union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh brought a written assurance to the Ramlila Ground that the government be given time till the winter session to make a strong law to curb corruption,” Hazare wrote.

“The letter containing your assurance was read to the entire nation by Deshmukh. Following this assurance, I decided to cancel my yatra of the five election-bound states. I still hope that a strong jan Lokpal Bill is coming,” he wrote.

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