As he prepares to launch yet another anti-corruption agitation, Anna Hazare on Wednesday opened a new front against government, attacking it for allowing FDI in retail sector which he said was not in the country’s interest. Addressing a press conference here, he said Parliament has been
disrupted for the past seven days on the FDI issue and wondered why the government was not listening to the voices of opposition against it.
“Many states have opposed FDI and said that they will not allow such shops…in democracy, one has to take into account the wishes of people…People are against FDI,” he said and asked, “so why insist on it?”
“Britishers came to India for trade but then ruled us for 250 years. You want to make us slaves once again? Are we inviting them to make us slaves again,” he said.
Hazare, who was addressing media to reiterate his decision to relaunch his agitation from December 27 if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing Parliament session, contested government’s argument that FDI was being allowed for the benefit of farmers.
“If the government were serious for the welfare of farmers, then why should suicides (by farmers) take place even after 65 years of independence. This is not the way,” he said.
He said this was not the way to uplift farmers and if the government claims it was sensitive to them, why is farmer suicides continuing. “They (foreign investors) will destroy our water resources, power and environment…they are not coming here for service.”
Expressing displeasure over the centre’s purported refusal to introduce a ‘strong’ Lokpal bill in the Parliament, Hazare reiterated that he would launch a fresh agitation from December 27 in New Delhi.
“The government promised to pass a strong Lokpal bill during the winter session. But it seems the government is in no mood to keep the promise,” he said.
Challenging the sceptics who say that his influence is waning, Hazare said, “On December 27, the country will see how many people come onto roads. What a few people say does not matter.
“The Parliament will be in session till December 22. The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and Sonia Gandhi asked us to give them a chance. So we will wait till December 22. If by then the Jan Lokpal bill doesn’t come, our agitation will start.”
Hazare also announced that he and his associates would campaign against the government in the coming elections in five states. “We will tell voters that they (government) don’t want to curb the corruption.”
Referring to threats received by Team Anna, he said, “Some people warn us… it will be my good fortune to die for the country.”
The Lokpal issue should be discussed in detail, only then would people know the facts, he said. “We have accepted democracy and have faith in the Parliament,” he added.