PM honest, good, but remote-controlled: Anna Hazare

Describing prime minister Manmohan Singh as an 'honest and good man,' anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare said though he was straightforward, he was being 'remote-controlled' by powerful people around him.

Addressing his first rally in Chennai on Sunday, Hazare said if parliament passed an effective Lokpal bill in the winter session, he would present flowers to Manmohan Singh on 27December. However, failure to pass the crucial anti-corruption bill would result in his launching his fast at Ramlila maidan in Delhi and the start of the 'jail bharo' agitation.

Reiterating his demand to include group C and D government employees in the proposed bill, Hazare also criticised the parliamentary standing committee for diluting the bill. ''All government officials should be under the Lokpal,'' he said. ''Group C and D employees should also be covered as they are the people the poor interact with.''

Later, addressing journalists, Hazare said he felt betrayed by the government, which has been delaying introduction of the legislation. He called off his fast in August after Singh assured him that the Lokpal bill would be passed in the winter session. But the parliamentary panel has not included key demands such as covering the lower bureaucracy, establishment of Lokayuktas in all states and the inclusion of a citizen's charter.

He also demanded that the CBI should be brought under the Lokpal and that it should be taken out of the control of the government.

Noting that the Jan Lokpal would not erase graft 100 per cent, Hazare said it would reduce corruption by 60 to 65 per cent in the beginning.