Manmohan Singh is an honest PM, but is remote controlled: Hazare

Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as an honest man, but one who was unable to freely take decisions, and is being remote controlled.

Interacting with mediapersons in Ralegan Siddhi village, Hazare said good political leaders were scarce, and those that were good, are prevented from working honestly and for the welfare of the people.

"No ruling or opposition party is working for the development and bright future of the country. All the politicians are running after money and power. There are some politicians with clean image in the ruling as well as the opposition parties and we accept this fact. But they are not allowed to do anything. Majority of people prevent them from doing good work. Our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is an honest man; I have never heard that he is involved in cases of corruption. But inspite of being honest, he is being run by a remote control, and is forced to remain quiet. Then what will the Prime Minister do. There are many politicians whose condition is similar," said Hazare.

The world''s largest democracy has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of legislators with a criminal record and some state governments are brazenly admitting notorious individuals into the party-fold for electoral considerations.

Muscle and money power now dominate Indian politics and this is the trend that team of anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare had sought to quarantine by seeking a Lokpal legislation - a kind of citizen''s ombudsman bill.

Hazare began his five-week long statewide tour on Tuesday from Shirdi for public awareness and stressed on the need to have an anti-graft bill to combat rampant corruption.

Exuding confidence, Hazare said that within these 35 days, he will visit 35 districts and would motivate people to continue their fight against corruption.

"I am confident that in these 35 days, I will go to 35 districts. I have faith in myself and that is the reason why I am moving out. If I was scared then I would have stayed in the hospital. So, I am hopeful, as I am healthy after doing naturopathy, and after the 35 days of campaign. I will tour the whole country and will continue to fight for an effective Jan Lokpal (Public Ombudsman) and Lokayukta (Provincial Ombudsman). Till the Jan Lokpal is not passed in the country and a Lokayukta is not formed in every state, I will continue to fight and I am ready to fight," said Hazare.

A series of high-profile scandals has eroded trust and stymied policymaking in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh''s administration in recent months.

Petty corruption is a fact of life for hundreds of millions of Indians who need to pay bribes for anything from a passport to a gas connection, but a string of billion-dollar scandals has sparked widespread anger against the government.

The Congress party has come under fire for what activists say is a cynical response to mass anti-graft movements that sprouted this year. The government says the protests were undemocratic and should not be allowed to dictate policy.

The corruption saga has dented investor confidence and smothered reforms such as on land acquisition that could help maintain the momentum of one of the world''s fastest-growing economies, which has showed signs of slowdown.

Criticising Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi for his recent visit to the drought-affected parts of Maharashtra, Hazare described the tour as a gimmick and added that visiting the area for a few hours, would not solve the problem.

"Rahul Gandhi visited the drought-hit Sarata region. His photographs were published in the newspapers and it was highlighted in the media. It''s been 65 years since independence and we are still questioning as to when we will get water. Now we have to see what steps he takes to provide water. Is he aware of the process of making water available and if he wants to know then he should visit and stay in Ralegan Siddhi for few days and talk to the locals here and should learn the process as to how to make water available," said Hazare.

Gandhi had recently visited drought-hit Satara district and assured the locals that their woes would be addressed soon. (ANI)

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