Minutes before the Parliament starts a debate on veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare’s demands on Jan Lokpal, the 74-year-old sent a clear signal that he is willing to fight on if the legislature tries to wriggle out of the situation.
Speaking on the 12th day of his marathon fast, he tried to lay to rest the worries surrounding his health, even as his aides have been expressing their worry.
“I am getting energized from all you people standing here,” he said, looking at the tens of thousands who’ve been a constant presence in front of his fast venue in Delhi’s humongous Ramlila Maidan.
In a speech aimed directly at the Parliamentarians and the government, he said “nothing can happen to me for another 3-4 days… There is no danger.”
The words are further proof that Anna is unwilling to turn back without concrete assurances from the Parliament of India. The Parliament is set to discuss Anna’s three demands — including bringing all government officials within the scope of the Lokpal ombudsman — at 11 AM.
While the main opposition, BJP has threatened to press for a vote on the three demands (together with six of their own), the ruling Congress Party is keen to avoid a vote at all costs. A vote will make the demands binding on the committee that is framing the Lokpal bill.
On the other hand, the lack of a vote or a voice vote will make the three demands merely suggestions of the Parliament, which may or may not be included in the final draft by the standing committee, headed by Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
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