Santosh Hegde puts rumours of civil society divide to rest

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Santosh Hegde
Bangalore, Jun 19: Slamming reports about a divide in civil society after a recent war of words between the Anna Hazare's team and the Union government, Karnataka's Lokayaukta Chief Santosh Hegde has put all rumours to rest and has stated that he would attend the Lokpal drafting committee meeting on Jun 21.

The Lokpal Bill had gone through some turbulent circumstances when no consensus was arrived at in the meeting between Anna's team and the government especially on the contentious issue of covering the Prime Minister under the Lokpal ambit. With the panel members clearing the air on the rumoured divide they said that the issue was highlighted over Hegde's non-attendance in the Jun 20 meeting for which they commented, “Hegde had informed Pranab Mukherjee in the last meeting that he would not be able to attend the June 20 meeting due to prior commitments."

Hegde had earlier showed some reservations in some of the decisions taken by the rest of the drafting committee. He was also not in favour of Hazare's proposed fast from Aug 16 if the Lokpal Bill does not come into existence. He had stated, “Hazare and the team should visit various parts of the country to strengthen the people"s movement against corruption."

Civil society member and a strong voice in the Jan Lokpal movement, Arvind Kejriwal also cleared the reports of divide in the panel and said, “All of us, including Hegde, are with Hazare. These are rumours spread by the government to discredit us as we have huge public support."

Hegde had apparently advised the disillusioned Lokpal panel to continue with the negotiations after they threatened to quit the joint panel after May 30. Kejriwal also added that Hegde will not join Anna Hazare's fast from Aug 16 since he wanted to finish his duties as Karnataka's Lokayukta chief before he completes his term on Aug 2.

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