Sonia appeals Anna Hazare to give up fast

Declaring that there were no two views on the need for combating corruption, Cong Prez appealed Hazare to give up his fast.

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 20:57 PM IST

New Delhi: Declaring that there were no two
views on the need for combating corruption, Congress President
Sonia Gandhi on Thursday appealed to Anna Hazare to give up his
fast, assuring the Gandhian that his views would receive
government`s "full attention".

"I am pained by Anna Hazareji`s fast-unto-death. The
issues he has raised are of grave public concern. There can be
no two views on the urgent necessity of combating graft and
corruption in public life," she said in a statement.

In the backdrop of Hazare resorting to the protest
action since Tuesday to demand an effective Lokpal Bill,
Gandhi said that she believed that the laws in these matters
must be effective and "must deliver the desired results".

"I am sure that Hazareji`s views will receive the
government`s full attention as we move forward to fight this
menace. I appeal to Anna to give up his fast", Gandhi, who is
also UPA Chairperson, said.

The appeal by Gandhi came when the hunger strike by the
71-year-old social activist entered the third day and the
government began talks with anti-corruption campaigners led by
him.

During the parleys today, the government agreed to form
a joint committee to draft a stronger Lokpal Bill but there
was no consensus on who will head it and as to whether it
should be notified.

Hazare rejected the government`s offer of an informal
committee and said he would not end his protest till the
demands were met.

Top sources in Congress said that the public appeal
issued by Gandhi is a reflection that she shared Hazare`s
concerns and also agreed that there is indeed a need for
further strengthening the laws to combat corruption.

"Congress President has issued a public appeal to
Anna Hazare to end his fast....she is President of the largest
party of the country and therefore any important and serious
thing happening in the country has to be her concern," AICC
General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters when asked
for the reasons for Gandhi`s intervention in the matter.

Dwivedi added that Gandhi has expressed her concern
and "positive action" will be taken in this regard.

Sources in the party said Gandhi`s intervention in
the matter took place as the issue raised by Hazare was
of public concern and she has been repeatedly stressing on the
need for tougher actions to "check the disease of corruption".
Party sources said the appeal shows Gandhi believes
the government will respond to it after the sincerity with
which Anna Hazare has raised the issue. They said the appeal
in a way assured the civil society groups that their concerns
will be taken care of.

They said that Congress was committed to the issue,
which becomes clear from the fact that it was being discussed
between the party and the government for a long time.

A senior party leader speaking on the condition of
anonymity sought to recall that Gandhi had expressed concern
over corruption even at the party`s plenary session at Burari
in December last year.

"Gandhi accepted the prevalence of corruption as a
disease and has been repeatedly calling for measures to check
it. So naturally she shared concerns of the civil society
groups," a senior party leader speaking on the condition of
anonymity said.

PTI