Anti-corruption Bill: Hazare rejects govt offer to form informal panel

Kapil Sibal is mediating on government`s behalf to try and end the deadlock over the Lokpal Bill.

Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 15:41 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The face-off between Anna Hazare and the Centre continued Thursday even after the government agreed to his key demand that members of the civil society be included in the committee that will draft the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.

Anna Hazare, while welcoming the government’s move is not convinced by the government assurances and hence will continue with his fast.

The government besides agreeing to set up a joint committee -five members each from the government and the civil society- also agreed, after initial reluctance, to ensure that the committee works within a time frame so that the Bill reaches the Parliament during the Monsoon Session.

However, the main sticking point is the demand by Hazare that a formal notification be issued on the formation of the joint committee, something the government is unwilling to do, as it envisages an informal role for the committee.

Moreover, supporters of Hazare are demanding that he be made the chairperson of the joint panel, while the government wants Pranab Mukherjee to head the panel.

The forward movement came after Union Minister Kapil Sibal met Hazare’s representatives Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal to find a way out.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sibal said that there has been forward movement but the government needs some more to discuss the matter; talks will resume tomorrow morning.

On his part, Kejriwal said that the government is trying to befool the movement by not wanting to give the joint committee an official mandate and hence the protest will continue as of now.

“Sibal says he will announce the formation of the committee but his announcement cannot and is not the law of the land. It has to come officially from the government,” he said.

On the issue of who should chair the joint committee, kejriwal said, “Anna Hazare is not fighting to be the chairperson of the committee. The appointment of a mutually acceptable retired Supreme Court judge as the head is acceptable to him, but the movement, the thousands who are supporting him, the nation, wants him to lead the panel.”