Saturday, 15 October 2011

After campaigning against it in the Hisar Lok Sabha by election, Anna Hazare on Saturday said he will work with Congress across the country if the UPA government brings a strong Lokpal Bill in the Winter session of Parliament and keeps its words on other reforms. But he also sent out a warning to the Congress that if the Lokpal Bill was not passed in the Winter session he will work against Congress in the coming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other states like in Hisar. In an interview to Aaj Tak before going on 'Maun Vrat', the Gandhian said after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's latest letter to him he was encouraged that the government would bring a strong Lokpal, the channel said in a release. "If the government brings a strong Lokpal and keeps its other promises, why should I oppose the Congress. In fact we will work with the Congress," he said referring to the Lokpal Bill and to electoral reforms including right to reject, decentralisation and more powers to gram sabhas. Seeking to dispel the notion that Team Anna is anti-Congress, he denied that Team Anna had campaigned against Congress in Hisar at the behest of BJP and RSS. "I have only seen him (RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat) on TV, I have never met him or spoken to him. These are all allegations. In politics political parties are ready to do anything. The Congress, BJP and RSS are together conspiring to defame Anna. I have nothing to do with the RSS or BJP," Hazare said. Hazare denied that that he had received a letter from the RSS. "I don't even recognise Ram Madhav," he said when asked why the RSS leader was allowed on stage during the Jantar Mantar agitation. He said he had never thanked BJP President Nitin Gadkari for the BJP'S support. "If someone else from my team did, I can't say." In a rebuff to Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan, Hazare said he completely disassociated himself with his remarks on Kashmir. "I am against anybody who talks about dividing the country. I am very uncomfortable with what Bhushan has said. Our core committee will meet to decide on his continuing as a team member. After it meets. I will take a decision." Hazare also said Arvind Kejriwal was wrong in saying that Anna Hazare is above Parliament. "Arvind Kejriwal has not told me what he has said. But if he did say Anna is above Parliament, it's wrong. People are above Parliament, not Anna." He said he would tell his colleagues not to exceed their brief and speak on each and every issue. Hazare laughed off Congress leader Digvijay Singh's claim that he was being set up as a Presidential candidate in 2012. "I neither have the aptitude nor the desire to become President. In any case, if I become President I won't be able to do what I have been doing for society now." He said the Congress and BJP were shooting in the dark by spreading such rumours.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday gave Maoists a seven-day deadline to lay down arms, saying violence would not be tolerated any more.
"I am giving you (Maoists) a seven-day ultimatum to lay down guns. Think over it. We will not tolerate any more violence. Killings and negotiations cannot go hand in hand," she told a rally in Jhargram.
"They (Maoists) do not pursue any ism, they have no ideals. They are 'supari' killers, jungle mafia. People hate violence. We initiated the peace process. We will continue the negotiations, but you (the rebels) have to lay down arms," she said.
Condemning killings by Maoists and gunning down of two Trinamool Congress leaders in junglemahal recently, Banerjee said, "We have started the peace process, stopped joint operations for over four months, expecting peace to return... But they (Maoists) have not kept their word and continued the killing spree."
She said if peace returned to junglemahal, there would be no need of joint security operations.
Asking the Maoists what they wanted, the chief minister said, "Tell me what you want? We will give you schools, colleges, roads, jobs...everything...The door for dialogue is still open. We want a solution through negotiations but we will not tolerate any more violence."
Holding up the three-month-old baby of slain TC leader Lalmohan Mahato, Banerjee said, "We do not want any more mothers to lose their children...I will never compromise with peace. Development is another name of peace."
Daring Maoists to come into the open instead of indulging in killings under the cover of darkness, she said, "You want to kill Mamata Banerjee? Tell me where you want to kill me.
There will be no policemen with me."
On Maoist threat to people not to avail of government assistance like rice and foodgrains, she said, "Don't be afraid of some goondas. We will not allow this to take place anymore...Development can't come through terrorism."
Urging Maoists to return to the mainstream, Banerjee said, "We will give protection to those returning to normal life. We will give them jobs, monthly pension and benefits under other schemes."
Announcing a number of development projects for junglemahal, said she if development starts taking place in the region, Maoists will be gradually alienated from the masses.

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