Social activist Anna Hazare said on Tuesday that he plans to begin an agitation on March 23 to demand the implementation of the Lokpal Act and against the agrarian crisis in the country. March 23 marks the anniversary of the hanging of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev during the British rule in 1931.
The Jan Lokpal Bill is an anti-corruption bill drawn up after demands for a body to investigate corruption cases arose. The government has not yet implemented the act.
“This will be a satyagraha for Jan Lokpal, farmers’ issues and election reforms,” Hazare said at Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. He said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on these issues but did not get any response, PTI reported.
“At least 12 lakh farmers have committed suicide in the last 22 years,” Hazare said. “I want to know the number of industrialists committing suicide during this period.”
Hazare had gone on a one-day hunger strike on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of failing to keep his promise of creating a corruption-free India. He had said Modi had done nothing to enforce the Lokpal Act.
“It appears you have no intention to bring in the Lokpal and Lokayukta acts...And you don’t want to build a corruption-free India,” Hazare had then written in a letter to Modi. “Instead, efforts are being made to weaken democracy and strengthen the [Bharatiya Janata] party.”
The Lokpal Bill
Hazare first went on a hunger strike to demand a Lokpal – an anti-corruption ombudsman – in 2011, during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance government. The 12-day strike was followed by another in 2012, after which the government passed the Lokpal Bill.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court had criticised the government for the delay in the implementation of the Lokpal legislation. It had said the legislation passed to appoint the Lokpal was a workable one, and there was no need for the Centre to keep its implementation pending.