Govt rejects activists' demand for Hazare as JC head

Kapil Sibal
New Delhi, Apr 7: Government and anti-corruption activists were today deadlocked on the demand over the chairmanship of a joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill and its notification though government agreed to bring the legislation during Monsoon session of Parliament.

As Gandhian Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death entered the third day, government opened a line of communication with the activists with Union Minister Kapil Sibal holding two rounds of talks with Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal.

"We had two rounds of discussions. We have agreed on almost all issues but there is no agreement on two issues, that is issuing an official notification to form the committee and making Hazare the chairman of the committee," Sibal told reporters after the second round of talks at his residence.

"So we need more time and we will meet again tomorrow and see we can evolve a procedure with which we can move ahead," Sibal said.

He said the government has agreed to form the committee now and not after May 13 as it had suggested in the first round of talks and will definitely be introducing the Bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament.

The proposed panel will have five members each from government and civil society. "The government has agreed to our demands. But our two demands are yet to be met. We will convey this to Hazare," Agnivesh said.

Hazare, who his admirers and followers have been demanding should head the committee, reacted saying he would not like to head the committee.

"If you want I can be a member or adviser, but not the chairperson," Hazare said. Earlier Kejriwal Hazare was of the view that a retired judge should be the Chairman of the committee as the government suggested that Pranab Mukherjee head the panel.

However, he said, when this proposal was put forward to his supporters they unanimously demanded that Hazare be the chairperson of the joint committee.

After the first round of talks between Sibal and Agnivesh and Kejriwal, Hazare told the gathering assembled at his fast site in Jantar Mantar that he would not call off his fast until the demands were not met.

More people, including school children, have joined the protest here even as support for the 71-year-old Gandhian across the country with people staging demonstrations in various capitals.

"In the first round of talks, Sibal had told us that the government was ready to constitute a joint committee with five members each from the civil society and the government. This we accepted," he said. 


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