Bangalore: Rubbishing government claims that Team Anna is adamant on their Jan Lokpal draft, former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde on Thursday said that if the Centre is ready to discuss the contentious issues regarding the Lokpal Bill with an open mind the civil society members have no problem in having a discussion with the government.
Coming down hard on the Congress-led government, the former chief of anti-corruption watchdog Karnataka Lokayukta said, “If the government is saying they have objection on only two issues – bringing the prime minister and judiciary under the Lokpal ambit then I will talk and try to persuade my team.”
“In all there are eight issues of where there has been disagreement. So if the government is saying they are willing on six and contradicting only on the PM and judiciary, we are ready to have talks with them and reach a consensus,” Hegde told reporters, adding, “we will expose the government”.
On Wednesday, Hegde joined hundreds of people - students, writers, workers, housewives, farmers, software professionals, senior citizens – in Bangalore to express solidarity with Hazare.
The former Supreme Court judge yesterday denounced the arrest of Hazare.
"Is he a terrorist that the government has detained him?" he had asked, during his address to the protesters. And then mincing no words, Hegde termed the episode the "murder of democracy".
"The government has not learnt its lessons from 1975. Anna has been detained even before he could go out to protest. This proves that the government is scared of Anna. This has definitely irked the entire country," he said.
Earlier, Home Minister P Chidambaram had said the Lokpal bill was before a standing committee after its introduction in the Parliament. He said the government was trying to get the bill out of standing committee as early as possible.
Chidambaram said 34 of 40 principles of Team Hazare had been accepted by the government during talks for drafting the Lokpal bill, but added that insistence of the team that only their version of bill should prevail was not reasonable.
Union Minister Kapil Sibal had also termed Hazare`s protest as undemocratic and an affront to Parliament. "This protest is undemocratic and unjustified. The Parliament will decide on the shape of the Lokpal Bill," Sibal had said.
Social activist Anna Hazare will continue his indefinite fast at the Ramlila ground from Friday, his close aide Arvind Kejriwal said. While civic authorities were busy preparing the venue, ambiguity continues over when the 74-year-old Gandhian will leave the Tihar jail.