Vilasrao plays a key role in ensuring Anna ends his fast

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Vilasrao Deshmukh
Mumbai, Aug 28: Vilasrao Deshmukh, Congress Leader and Ex-Chief Minister, Maharashtra played a important role in ending anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's fast, said reports.

According to a top bureaucrat, if Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh would have roped in Vilasrao earlier, the government would not have had to face such difficulties.

"Unfortunately, the PMO involved Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram in the process. They are good administrators, but have absolutely no experience in dealing with Hazare. On the other hand, Deshmukh has been negotiating with Hazare for over two decades," said the bureaucrat.

"The Centre lost four precious days in the process. In fact, the Centre woke up almost five days after Hazare started the fast," he added.

Reports suggest Anna was unhappy to talk to the government unless some politician or buraeucrat from Maharshtra would be the mediator. A Congress minister also said that the centre then wanted to senior IAS officer, UC Sarangi to be the negotiator, but seeing no response from the veteran, the decision to involve Deshmukh was taken.

"We told Deshmukh that if Hazare's three demands were accepted, he was prepared to end the fast," said Abhinandam Thorat, a journalist.

Over the last three days, Deshmukh successfully emerged as the link between Hazare and the PMO. Deshmukh convinced the PM that even if Hazare' plea was accepted, there was no question of undermining the authority of Parliament or the Constitution. Deshmukh's argument was accepted and the process to pacify Hazare began on August 26 in right earnest," he said.

Deshmukh made sure that after an assurance from Anna, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal would be out of discussions or negotiations and he also got the views of Swami Agniwesh and Justice Santosh Hegde, who expressed their thoughts against a section of the members of Team Anna.

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