New Delhi, Aug 3 (ANI): Comparing the present situation in the country to what that existed in 1975, former army chief General V.K. Singh on Friday said "rampant corruption" is the country's biggest problem.
He accused the government of not following the Directive Principles of State Policy as written in the Constitution.
Addressing a gathering at the Jantar Mantar here, Singh said: When I evaluate the country's present condition, it is similar to that of 1975. Jayparakash Narayan had then said "Singhaasan Chodo Janta Aati Hai'. He felt then that corruption is the root of all problems."
Singh said the situation is the same today.
"We are facing problems of inflation and economic slowdown. It appears that there is no governance in the country. The only alternative we have is the one offered by Anna Hazare. Every time you fight the powers that be, they will try to dent the image of the movement," he said.
General Singh congratulated Team Anna on their decision to start a political movement, saying it was vital to got involved in the big fight for changing the country's electoral politics.
"For the last 16 months, all of you (have) participated in the Jan Lokpal Movement. I thank you", he added.
General Singh further said that Team Anna must be prepared to face stiff opposition from those who do not believe in democracy.
The former army chief also appealed to the people to join hands to end corruption.
"All you have the power to change society. With that magic wand, you have to end corruption," he said.
Singh, who had locked horns with the government on the age issue prior to his retirement, was one of the 22 eminent personalities, who had urged civil society activists to end their fast against graft.
Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, who read out the statement of solidarity from 22 prominent citizens of the country earlier on Thursday said the government was not responding to the fast and was not paying heed to the protest.
"The government has turned its back to the agitation and has also not shown political will to punish corrupt people. The opposition also does not fare well on the issue. Do not expect anything from this political class," the letter said.
"We request Anna Hazare and other fasting activists to channelise their efforts in setting up a political alternative, to give a responsive, democratic and non-violent system. Indian democracy needs a new direction. We request the people who are fasting to accept this historical challenge and call off their fast," it added.
Anna Hazare yesterday said that he and his team members would end their fast on Friday, and added that his aides want feedback within 48 hours on whether they should form a political party.
Asserting that power should rest with the people in a true democracy, Hazare yesterday reiterated that there is nothing wrong in forming a political party.
Hazare said power should be with the people of the country.
"In a true democracy, power should be in the hands of the people. The power must be given to the public. Village land, village water belongs to the village. There is a government in Delhi, but in the village, we are the government. Village has the right over coal, water in the village," he said.
Hazare asked his supporters to dislodge those leaders, who don't give in to people's demand.
He, however, said that he himself would not enter politics.
"I will not get into politics. I will fight from the outside. You have to think who goes into a party. Do they have a good character? Such people only should be given a ticket. If you want to change the nation, form a party. But see who is going into that party. How will you monitor them? You have to think about that," said Hazare.
"The people who ask for your votes, whether they are right or wrong, should be monitored," he added.
The 75-year-old social activist also reiterated that the government is not serious on bringing a strong anti-graft bill to combat rampant corruption in the country.
The government, however, hit back at Team Anna, saying they have always been power-hungry and must contest elections to prove its claim of representing the will of the people.
The standoff between the UPA and Team Anna intensified after the latter demanded the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of retired judges of Supreme and High Courts, to probe charges of corruption against 15 cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister. (ANI)