Anti-Corruption

Anna Softens Stand, Ready for Political Talks

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi: Anna Hazare said there is no reason why Parliament cannot pass the Lokpal Bill within next two weeks and his team is ready for direct political dialogues with open minds.

Speaking to CNN-IBN news channel, Hazare reiterated that negotiators should only be political. He said: “If the prime minister puts Prithviraj Chavan as negotiator, I will be more than happy. Lets start the process of direct political dialogues, we are with open minds.”

Downplaying the health concerns as his fast entered the eighth day on Tuesday, the 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader said: “My health is fine, I can continue like this for a week or more.”

Troubled by reports of people drinking and turning rowdy at the Ramlila Maidan, Hazare said: “I appeal to supporters not to take law into their own hands.”

No Talks With Non-political Negotiators

Hazare had on Monday said that negotiations on the Lokpal Bill cannot happen with non-government mediators and added that he can talk with the Prime Minister’s Office or Rahul. He also added that he was ready to talk with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

He said that no official mediator has approached him or his associates till now and also added that would not speak to anyone without the presence of his advisers.

Demanding that the Lokpal Bill introduced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Parliament be withdrawn immediately as it was weak and cannot fight the corruption menace, Hazare stated that state level Lokpal mechanism cannot be diluted.

Hinting at some flexibility on the issue of excluding judiciary under the Lokpal, Hazare said that this demand could be discussed during the talks. He, however, added that the Judicial Accountability Bill must be strengthened if judiciary has to be kept out of the Lokpal.

He made it clear that he was not in favour of negotiating with non-political mediators like spiritual guru Bhayyuji Maharaj and senior Maharashtra bureaucrat UC Sarangi, who were involved in back-channel talks with Team Anna on Sunday.

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