Referendum shows overwhelming support for Jan Lokpal

Team Anna says Jantar Mantar is the venue for August 16 protest


Danish Raza | August 1, 2011

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More than 80 percent of the 14 lakh people living in the Chandni Chowk constituency are for the Jan Lokpal Bill- civil society’s version of the anti- graft body.

Arvind Kejriwal, member of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill declared the results of the referendum on Lokpal bill on Monday.

Kejriwal announced that 85 percent of the people in Chandni Chowk constituency were in favour of Jan Lokpal bill. 

“Now when the result of the referendum is out, we want Kapil Sibal to chose between what he wants and what his government wants,” said Kejriwal while addressing the media.

The government and the civil society representatives have differences on contentious issues regarding the functioning and the powers of the proposed anti-graft body. The government has rejected the civil society’s demand of keeping the prime minister and the judiciary within the purview of the Lokpal.

To know the public opinion on these points, Team Hazare launched a referendum on in Chandni Chowk- the constituency of Kapil Sibal, a union minister and government representative on the joint drafting committee for the Lokpal bill.

Around 500 volunteers distributed more than 1.5 lakh OMR forms during the survey which spanned for nine days- July 24 to 29.

Out of these, Team Anna could collect 86000 forms.

The result of the referendum is based on 72000 forms which were scanned.

"This is the verdict of one constituency. We are sure that we will get similar results, if we conduct a nation wide referendum," said Anna Hazare.

Social activist Kiran Bedi said that the result of the referendum showed what citizens wanted. "The government always said that we should base our statements on some evidence. This is the evidence," said Bedi.

About the controversy on the venue of August 16 fast, Hazare said that the police has not denied permission to his team. “We wrote to the Parliament Street police station informing them about our plan. Till now, we have not received any denial,” said he.

According to media reports, Delhi police has suggested Team Anna some alternate sites for the protest. These include grounds in outer Delhi Burari area and Karol Bagh. Some reports say that the police has granted Anna Hazare the permission to protest at Jantar Mantar only for  one day.

Kejriwal said that these were all rumours and the Anna Hazare would fast at Jantar Mantar as per the original plan. Anna Hazare said that in case the authorities does not allow him to sit on the fast at Jantar Mantar, he would to to jail. Hazare said that it holding a peaceful protest was his fundamental right and he would exercise the same. come what may. "If they (government) call it black mail, let me black mail them," said he.

Hazare flails PM for keeping his post out of lokpal ambit


Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Anna Hazare today termed as "unfortunate" his justification for keeping his post out of the purview of the proposed Lokpal and wondered whether the "honest" person was telling lies.

Hazare questioned the government's intentions on the Lokpal Bill and said he was ready to go to jail if he was not allowed to demanding a strong anti-corruption law.

He made it clear that he was not insisting on undertaking the fast at Jantar Mantar because for him the issue is more important than the venue.

Addressing a press conference here, the noted civil rights activist reacted strongly to the Prime Minister's justification of keeping his post out of the ambit of Lokpal.

"This statement is unfortunate. Till now, the people of the country and me too felt that we have an honest and non-corrupt Prime Minister," Hazare said.

"..our fight is not against Parliament but against the government. I have written a letter to him (PM) and even after that if he is saying this, it is unfortunate. Many people in the government are telling lies. The Prime Minister was a good person and even if he is telling lies then what will happen," he said but did not elaborate.

Singh yesterday said bringing the office of Prime Minister under the ambit of Lokpal would "not be advisable" and government has taken the decision after "taking all factors into account". He had earlier favoured inclusion of the office of Prime Minister under Lokpal.

Asked what he would do if the police denies him permission to stage protest in Jantar Mantar, Hazare said he would not insist on sitting at the site. "If they can provide a place where people can reach, where all amenities are provided, then we can go there.

"I don't want people to say that Anna is stubborn on this. Our issue is not Jantar Mantar, our issue is Lokpal," he said.

Rubbishing suggestions that he was trying to blackmail the government, he said, "It is not that I am very happy to go to fast. Government is forcing us to sit on fast. Why don't the government bring a strong Lokpal Bill."

Hazare said scams would not have taken place if the government listens to the voice of people. "We would not have A Raja committing such corruption if the government had listened to the voice of people," he said.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said police has not informed them about rejection of permission for conducting the protest at Jantar Mantar.

Hazare, who addressed the press to give out results of "referendum" conducted by the civil activists in Chandni Chowk constituency of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, said overwhelming 85 per cent of people favoured (their version) Jan Lokpal Bill.

He attacked Sibal for alleging that the "referendum" was carried out by Sangh Parivar.

"They sometimes link me with RSS, sometimes with BJP. Never in my life I had linked myself with anyone. We have leaders who have hump. I am a self-made person," said the activist who hails from Maharashtra.

Claiming that the "interim" results of the referendum showed that an overwheming 85 per cent of 72,000 responses counted so far was in favour of Jan Lokpal Bill, Hazare said he favoured a national referundum on the issue.

On the referendum conducted in Chandni Chowk, Hazare said government will have to listen to the voices of people.

Kejriwal said, "Seeing these results the question arises, does Kapil Sibal still represent the people of his constituency?"

The Team Anna claimed that the referendum revealed that the elected representatives were not voicing their electorate's wishes. "85 percent of the people surveyed in Sibal's constituency have opted in favour of the provisions proposed by team Anna," Kejriwal said.

"Four lakh referendum forms were distributed in the constituency, of which 86,000 forms have been collected till now. The referendum forms constituted a questionnaire of 8 questions on components of the bill. The result of 72,000 forms has been compiled, rest 14,000 could not scanned as they got wet due to rains and will be done manually," he said.

Kejriwal also alleged that there were attempts to derail their exercise. "There were 30 forms from an area which was fully in favour of government provisions. We approached the respondents through the phone number given in these forms and we were told by them that the RWA president collected the forms from them and he filled it," he said.

However, he said, they did not exclude these forms from the counting.

Related Story

Sibal ridicules survey by Team Hazare

Ridiculing Anna Hazare team's survey in his constituency on the Lokpal bill issue, union minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said he was surprised why the support was not 100 per cent.

He was reacting to the claims of the Team Hazare that an overwhelming 85 percent of people surveyed in Sibal's Lok Sabha constituency Chandni Chowk favoured their version of Lokpal Bill.

"I am surprised that why is it not 100 per cent? They are being very modest, I think they are doing a lot of injustice to themselves," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of inaugural session of Australia-India Education Council.

Hazare's team claimed to have carried out a four-day survey on Lokpal bill there. Hazare, who addressed a press on Tuesday to give out its results of the survey, claimed its "interim" results showed 85 per cent of 72,000 responses counted so far were in favour of Jan Lokpal Bill.

"Four lakh referendum forms were distributed in the constituency, of which 86,000 forms have been collected till now. The referendum forms constituted a questionnaire of 8 questions on components of the bill. The result of 72,000 forms has been compiled, rest 14,000 could not scanned as they got wet due to rains and will be done manually," he said.



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