Anna begins fast, attacks Pranab
On the first day of their indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, Team Anna launched a scathing attack on Pranab Mukherjee — just hours after he took oath as President — to highlight its demands for a SIT to investigate corruption charges against 15 Union ministers and a strong Lokpal.
Mukherjee’s picture on the “tainted” list was kept covered, apparently a symbolic representation of how the Constitution was being used to “shield” him. The allegations levelled against Mukherjee pertained mainly to the rice export scam, Navy War Room leak, Scorpene deal and interference in SEBI investigations against companies like Reliance and Sahara.
Arvind Kejriwal in his speech claimed that had the probe that India Against Corruption (IAC) has been demanding been ordered, Mukherjee would have moved to the country’s highest office either “taint-free or not at all”.
In her speech, Kiran Bedi said, “If there was an independent Lokpal, the country may have had a different person in Rashtrapati Bhawan.”
Though in the run-up to the fast it was the SIT demand that was the focus of Kejriwal and fellow Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan, the discourse clearly moved back towards the Lokpal agenda with Anna Hazare’s re-entry into the scene on Tuesday and his announcement that he will fast from July 29.
Incidentally, the Lokpal agenda had not been mentioned in the posters circulated over the past couple of months to announce the fast.
On Wednesday, the speeches, songs and slogans focussed on Lokpal; Hazare’s speech had little else and no mention whatsoever of the SIT demand. “If Lokpal Bill had been passed, 65% corruption would have ended,” Hazare claimed.