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    Anna defiant as Govt sticks to its stand

    New Delhi: The deadlock between Anna Hazare supporters and the Government continued on Friday with no solution in sight over a notification for setting up a 50:50 committee to redraft the Lokpal Bill.The Government has been talking tough and insisting that a senior minister must head the committee on the anti-corruption bill and added that no formal notification could be issued on the matter. The Government has flatly refused to the demand by Hazare and his supporters to issue a notification, and instead offered a letter from the Law Ministry that would mention the setting up of a joint committee to redraft the Lokpal Bill.But it also added that it is open to negotiations on the drafting of the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal said that if a social activist wants to be a chairman of the committee for redrafting the Lokpal Bill, then the committee will have government officials and not ministers."I spoke to Swami Agnivesh, conveyed to him that our position on notification remains the same, that we can issue a letter from the Law Minister to form a committee. We also conveyed that it is not possible to accept the chairman from the civil society. If a social activist wants to be a chairman then the committee then we will have government officials and not ministers," said Sibal.Hazare supporter and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal suggested Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde and former chief justice of India JS Verma to be a part of the committee, which he said was also rejected by Sibal.The Government stuck to its proposal to keep Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as the Chairman of the committee, said Kejriwal.Hegde has, however, refused to head the committee saying he was not involved in drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill.“I have supported Anna Hazare's movement and I am a sympathiser of this movement therefore it would not be right for me to take charge of this chair. Justice Verma (former chief justice of India JS Verma) will be correct for this chair and he is a man of a perfect integrity,” said Hegde.Sibal and Swami Agnivesh will meet again on Friday evening to reach a consensus on deciding the chairman for the committee to redraft the Lokpal Bill.Anna Hazare has written another letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue. While Hazare has thanked Sonia for supporting his cause; he has urged Singh to appoint a non-political person as the chairman of the proposed 50:50 Committee to draft a new and stricter anti-corruption bill.Hazare has also called for Jail Bharo Aandolan on April 12 and April 13."It is the Gram Sabha that wants the government to act. Gram sabha is the biggest power. Lok Sabha changes every five years and gram sabha is the one that changes Parliament," Anna said.####