Talks progress, Anna to come out with decision

test sharma | Updated: April 8, 2011, 6:49 PM IST

New Delhi: There are indications that the government and civil society have reached an agreement after four rounds of talks on Friday. The four-day fast held by ant-corruption crusader Anna Hazare may soon be over.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that an agreement has been reached in the latest round of talks between representatives of Anna and the government.

Indicating progress in talks with the government on the proposed formation of a committee for drafting the Lokpak Bill, the emissaries of Anna Hazare on Friday evening said he will soon announce his decision which people would be "happy to hear".

"There is some progress in talks with government. Message is to be conveyed to Hazare," activist Arvind Kejriwal, who is one of the three emissaries, said after a meeting with Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

Another emissary Swami Agnivesh said the government had sent a draft on Friday afternoon, following which Hazare sent his draft.

"We replied to it and spoke to the three ministers about it," he said.

"The government has given a draft on which Hazare will give a decision. You will be happy to hear his decision," he said.

The differences were on the constitution of the panel to draft the Lokpal bill. Anna's followers were demanding a joint panel with equal numbers of panelists and civil activists and the co-chairman's post.

Earlier, veteran social activist and Gandhian Anna Hazare on Friday said he will be a part of the proposed anti-corruption committee proposed to keep pressure on the government.

Reacting to the Government's proposal of 50:50 committee, Anna Hazare said they have suggested co-chairpersons for the joint committee on drafting Lokpal Bill.

He demanded appointment of a chairman and a co-chairman for the proposed joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill and rejected the government's offer of setting up of the committee by a letter of the Law Ministry.

He also said there should be no "tainted" ministers in the joint committee comprising civil society members and ministers.

Addressing his supporters at the Jantar Mantar here, even as three of his emissaries were engaged in discussions with Union Ministers, the 73-year old Gandhian said his anti-corruption movement has achieved considerable success and will not cow down before the government.

"We have not accepted the government's offer of constitution of the committee through a letter from the Law Minister. There should be a government order on behalf of the government," he said adding this has been made clear to the emissaries for discussion with the ministers.

He said his campaign has also demanded from the government that the committee should have a chairman and a co-chairman. "If there is a chairman from the government side then the Cabinet will have to accept the recommendations of the committee on the Bill".

Claiming that his anti-graft movement has achieved quite a lot of success, he said the government has accepted the proposal for a joint committee and it will have five members from each side.

To the cheers of the assembled gathering, he said, there should be no tainted ministers in the committee.

Asked if there were five untainted ministers in the government, Hazare said "they should be least tainted".

He said he has accepted to be a member of the committee to keep pressure on the government.

To a question he said, "we have not reached nay compromise. If our chairman is there then it will be difficult for them. But if a minister is the chairman, then the Cabinet will have to accept the recommendations. There will be no difference in powers of the chairman and the co-chairman."

He rejected a charge that he was blackmailing the government through hunger strike and said his approach was that if the government does not listen to people, they will throw it out.

(With additional information from PTI)

First Published: April 8, 2011, 6:49 PM IST

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