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No intention to quit Lokpal panel, says Hazare team

Anna Hazare-led team hit out at HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for attacking them.



New Delhi: A day after boycotting the
meeting of Lokpal bill drafting committee, Anna Hazare-led
team on Tuesday made it clear that they had no intention to quit
the joint panel and hit out at HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for
attacking them.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said civil society members
will attend the next meeting and contended that if they leave
the ten-member committee, it will have "no credibility" as it
will only remain a government panel with five ministers.

"Kapil Sibal has said that whether we come or not,
they will go ahead (with the drafting of the Lokpal Bill). Why
did that question arise? We had written to (Finance Minister)
Pranab Mukherjee that we will not be attending today`s (June
6) meeting.

"We also said that Anna Hazare will not be available
on June 10 and so that the meeting on that be postponed. So it
makes it clear that we are going to attend meetings. We are
not going to leave the committee just like that," he said.

He also accused Sibal of "putting words in their
mouth" and said the government should tone down arrogance.

Despite the five civil society members boycotting the
meeting yesterday, the ministers went ahead and finalised some
provisions of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Later, Sibal took objection to the boycott of the
meeting by civil society members and said that the committee
would do its work "whether or not someone comes".

Reacting to Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi`s
comments that Hazare was a mask of BJP, another activist
Prashant Bhushan said such remarks deserve contempt.

The activists also defended their insistence on live
telecast of joint committee proceedings saying it will give a
better picture of the stands taken by both the sides.

On the question of live telecast, Bhushan said why the
government was against the live telecast if they have nothing
to hide.

On the issue of bringing MPs under the ambit of
Lokpal, Kejriwal said not a single MP accused in the cash-for-
vote scam was punished.

"For the past three years, not a single MP has been
punished. Has any investigation been done? Has something
happened? Our MPs vote after taking money and go unpunished.
Tomorrow they take money from someone outside the country and
vote, will that not be detrimental," Kejriwal said.

PTI

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