New Delhi: With the government appearing to accede to Anna Hazare’s demand that the Lokpal Bill redraft committee be officially notified and a member of the civil society be made its head, the veteran Gandhian, Friday, sent a fresh proposal to try and break the deadlock.
Anna Hazare has proposed that he is ready to accept a member of the government as the chairperson of the joint committee if a member from the civil society is made the co-chairperson.
The ball is now in government’s court but it is clearly in a fix. For the record the Congress has termed his demands as impossible but back room parleys are on to hammer out an amicable solution.
The government has reasons to be worried considering the widespread support that Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade is garnering from acroos the country and abroad.
A meeting between the government and civil society members Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejariwal was due to held this evening, but its fate is uncertain yet.
Today is the fourth day of the indefinite hunger strike started by the 72-year-old social worker, who has pledged not to concede even an inch till government gave a role to civil society in drafting a stringent Lokpal Bill.
Letters to PM, Sonia
Earlier in the day, Hazare wrote separate letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to press for his demands.
In his letter to the PM, the 72-year-old Gandhian, who entered the fourth day of his fast-unto-death today, requested him to reconsider the government’s decision to appointment Pranab Mukherjee as the head of the joint committee that will revisit the Lokpal Bill after taking into consideration the views being expressed by the civil society.
The letter states, "The government has proposed that Pranab Mukherjee should head the joint drafting committee. I request you (PM) to reconsider it, as people are demanding a non-political person. Despite an outcry for me to be the chairperson, I am not interested in holding the position."
"I propose names of Justice JS Verma or Justice Santosh Hegde. All of this should be discussed in the form of a notification of formal government order which specifies the constitution of the committee, names of its members and chairpersons, timeliness and terms," adds Hazare in his letter.
On the other in his letter to Sonia, Hazare while thanking her for expressing concern for the movement, has asked her to take up the issue of rewriting the Lokpal Bill at the National Advisory Council - the important consultative body that she heads.
Hazare wrote: "The Jan Lokpal Bill should be discussed in a full meeting of NAC at the earliest and recommend the outcome to the government."
The fresh attempt from Hazare to reach a solution on the issue comes even as both the sides have publicly stuck to their respective stands.
Kapil Sibal, who has been negotiating with Hazare`s emissaries, declared that it would not be possible to accept the demand for making Hazare the Chairman of the committee or to officially notify it.
Hazare reacted sharply saying time has come for a `Jail Bharo` agitation throughout the country. He has set April 13 as the date for the mass movement.
Clearly, the government is facing a litmus test.
Sonia Gandhi, who had yesterday appealed to Hazare to end the fast, today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the stalemate between the two sides. Senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal and Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmed Patel were also present.