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Indian hunger striker warns of new fast
Agence France Presse - November 1, 2011
The 74-year-old activist wants a new law passed by the end of the winter session of parliament on Dec. 21 that would create a powerful new ombudsman able to investigate and prosecute public servants.
"I will begin my hunger strike on the last day of the winter session of the parliament if it fails to pass an effective Jan Lokpal bill," Hazare said in the letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Hazare said he was confident that a strong legislation would bring down corruption in the country by "at least 60 percent."
"Some of the leading voices of the government are trying to create doubt by their flip-flop on the issue. I therefore request the government to bring in a tough law as assured to us earlier," he wrote.
Hazare's latest salvo is likely to put fresh pressure on Singh's embattled government, already reeling from a series of corruption scandals including the possibly fraudulent sale of telecom licences that cost the country up to $39 billion.
Hazare, who has modelled his image and tactics on Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, transfixed the country but polarized opinion during his 12-day fast.
Many see him as a moral leader who exposed the government's apathy towards corruption, but critics view him as an autocrat seeking to strong-arm parliament and impose his views on lawmakers. He also faces problems in his inner circle, known as "Team Anna," after a key member, Kiran Bedi, admitted to over-charging organizations and charities for speaking engagements.