Government's Lokpal bill not strong: AAP

New Delhi, Dec 15 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sunday rejected the Lokpal Bill under consideration in parliament, saying it was weak and would not prevent corruption, but work instead to "protect the corrupt".

"This Lokpal Bill does not provide for formation of Lokayuktas, there is no provision for whistle-blower protection, and it is not free of the government," AAP member Prashant Bhushan told reporters here at the Constitution Club.

"What is the point of passing this Lokpal Bill? It will not stop corruption at all," he said, adding it would only "protect the corrupt".

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, said there was no independence for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). "They are not making CBI independent in this bill. If this happens, even the prime minister may go to jail in 2G or some other scam," he said.

"This bill will be beneficial for the Congress and its vice president Rahul Gandhi will get the credit," he added.

Kejriwal, newly elected to the Delhi assembly, said the movement against corruption will continue.

"Our party members would go to several parts of the country and wake up the nation against corruption," Kejriwal said.

Another party member, Gopal Rai called off his fast which he started following anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's fast to press the government for immediate passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill in parliament. Kejriwal offered him lemon water.

"We supported Hazare for his fast but the way he changed his stand on the government's bill has pressed me to call off the fast," Rai told IANS.

Rai decided to start his fast three days after Hazare sat on hunger strike at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra from Dec 10. But, Hazare virtually asked Rai to "get out" from the premises of his fast venue and accused Rai of creating disturbance at the meeting when former army chief V.K. Singh was speaking.

Kejriwal also appealed to Hazare to call off the strike, saying he (Hazare) was under the influence of some Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party men.

"I am very upset as he changed his stand. I will make him understand when we meet," Kejriwal said.

The Lokpal Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha and greatly amended by a select committee of the Rajya Sabha, was tabled for debate in the upper house Friday.

The bill, once passed by the house of elders, will be sent back to the Lok Sabha for its approval again. The government has said it is committed to the passage of the bill in this session, which ends Friday.

--IANS (Posted on 15-12-2013)

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