After slugfest, Lokpal panel meets today

Anna HazareNew Delhi:  Just two days after a bitter and ugly slugfest between civil society representatives and the government, the Lokpal drafting panel meets today. The last meeting was boycotted by the civil society members, but ahead of today’s meeting, Anna Hazare has struck a conciliatory note. Mr Hazare has said that all differences can be sorted out through dialogue and that civil society members and the government will sort out everything together.

When asked by reporters about what will happen at the meeting, considering both Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan have called the government, a government of thieves, Mr Hazare said, “Don’t call them thieves. We and the government are one. We will work things out together. This nation has been lifted. Talks with others can resolve these differences.”

As the government and Congress continued its attack on the civil society members, Mr Hazare said he cannot stop anyone from levelling allegations that he was a mask of RSS or BJP but said the civil society has every right to raise issues at the meeting.

The activists, who have shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will push for the inclusion of the Prime Minister, judiciary and MPs under the ambit of the Lokpal, an issue on which government is at loggerheads with the civil society.

 After the action against Baba Ramdev, Mr Hazare and his team had boycotted a meeting of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee scheduled for last Monday. The government struck back publically, accusing the activists of exiting the negotiation process over unrelated issues like the Ramdev crisis. Senior minister Kapil Sibal said that the government intends to deliver the Lokpal Bill by the end of this month, with or without the involvement of Team Anna.

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