PUNE (TIP): Social activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday announced his plan to begin a nation-wide tour from January 2013 for starting a citizens’ movement for a corruption-free India and for bringing in the Jan Lokpal bill. The tour, he said, will begin from Gandhi maidan in Patna in Bihar from where Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan had started his Janandolan

During his tour, which will continue for one and half years in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Hazare said he will work for forming a nation-wide organization of citizens, activists and workers who have been working against corruption at the district, taluka and village levels. There will be no officebearers in this citizens’ organization and everyone will work as volunteers, he added. The plan for his nation-wide tour, he said, had been delayed due to his eye surgery. “I plan to reach out to crores of people in these two years and create public pressure on the government for bringing in the Jan Lokpal and other laws for good governance. The organization of activists and workers will have to work towards creating public awareness,” he said.

“I have been advised by experts to use all social media platforms to communicate and reach out to the people involved in this movement. A meeting of experts was held in Ralegan Siddhi on October 14 to decide about formation of the nation-wide organization of people and the means to reach out to them,” he said. Hazare announced that within a week, an online facility will be created for people to participate in the public movement. “It is not impossible for people to come together what with modern communication and information technology,” he added.

Common people, he said, are facing severe hardships in life due to massive corruption in the country. It is only because of corruption that the cost of living has increased, he said. Referring to his agitations in April and August 2011 in Delhi for the Jan Lokpal bill, Hazare said it was after 65 years and the first time since Independence that there was such a huge public movement. The government does not have the will to bring in the Jan Lokpal Bill, he added.

“However, there has been awareness among people and several thousand workers who have been working against corruption have sent letters saying that they are ready to join the movement against corruption. Many youths have said they are ready to devote their entire life to the movement. Hundreds of social groups, organizations, retired IPS, IAS and military officers have expressed their wish to join in the movement against corruption. The number of such activists and workers will soon increase to a few crores in the next one and half years. A strong network of these activists will be created at the state, district, taluka and village levels. The time for change has come,” he said.

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Hazare said in addition to creating pressure on the government, it is necessary that people with good character are elected to the Parliament. For this, it is necessary that every voter takes a pledge that he/she will not indulge in any corrupt actions and vote for candidates with good character, irrespective of his or her religion, caste and other factors.