No intention to topple the government, Team Anna says

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Team Anna
New Delhi, Aug 22: Anna Hazare's fast demanding a strong Lokpal entered the seventh day here today (Aug 22) with his Team asserting that they have no intention to topple the government but defended the Gandhian's remarks that it should go if the bill is not passed by August 30.

Hazare's fast inched close to 150 hours as hundreds poured into Ramlila Maidan to express solidarity with the 74- year-old Gandhian who began his indefinite fast in police custody on August 16. He has lost five kgs during the past seven weeks and ketone particles have been found in his blood and urine. Ketone particles may affect vital organs like kidney and liver.

As his protest continued, Team Anna said they were yet to hear from the government side on the talks.

"The Prime Minister tells you people (media) that they are ready for talks. But we are asking again and again where do we come? Whom do we meet? Until we don't have a concrete proposal, we cannot react to it," activist Arvind Kejriwal said.

Asked about Hazare's statement that the government should go if it does not pass the bill by August 30, Kejriwal said Team Anna has no intention to topple the government.

"We have been repeating that our motive is not to topple the government. If the government is so insensitive even on the seventh day of protest and mass gathering, they are saying we will protect corruption and shelter the corrupt...so what is wrong if Hazare said this," he said.

Noting they have not changed their stand and they cannot leave the government free to do help corrupt people, he put the ball in government's court on negotiations saying now the way ahead has to be decided by the government. "If they have the political will, it will take less than two minutes to pass the bill," he said. 

On Hazare's health, Kejriwal said the Gandhian has lost five kgs in the past seven days. "The ketone level in blood and urine has risen slightly. There is nothing to worry as of now. He is fine," he said.

Government has initiated move for back-channel negotiations by roping in Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Umesh Chandra Sarangi and spiritual guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. Both had a meeting with Hazare and his team yesterday.

Meanwhile, police enhanced the security at Ramlila Maidan this morning by deploying additional personnel, including a woman unit of the CRPF.

A senior police official looking after security arrangements said CRPF and Delhi Police personnel have been asked to keep a tight vigil and ask for identity cards in case of suspicion.

However, the official did not give an exact figure of security personnel deployed. Two platoons (25 personnel in each) were seen on the ground after being briefed by their seniors.

However, the CRPF personnel deployed at the ground are not armed even with ''lathis'' leave alone weapons. The police is also frisking all protestors and visitors who have entered the ground from various entry gates.

PTI

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