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Hazare to end fast on Saturday,agreement reached with govt

Hazare has been on fast-unto-death demanding formation of a committee to draft an effective Bill.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi |
April 8, 2011 5:04:09 pm

Government tonight blinked in the battle of attrition with Anna Hazare by agreeing to issue a formal order to set up a joint committee for drafting an effective Lokpal Bill and the Gandhian will end his indefinite fast on Saturday.

The announcement of an agreement came from both sides late in the night on the fourth day of Hazare’s fast-unto-death that triggered a nationwide support for his anti-corruption campaign.

“Government has accepted all our demands and I will end my fast tomorrow at 10 A.M. This is a victory for the entire nation,” Hazare said.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal,who led the government team of negotiators,welcomed Hazare’s announcement and thanked him for it.

“This is a victory for democracy,” he said adding it was for the government now now to issue an appropriate order constituting the committee that will include representatives of civil society and government.

However,Hazare’s emissaries Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh made it clear that the protest fast will not not be ended till the government issues the order.

The denouement came after his emissaries met ministers for a round of talks,third in two days,and after some hiccups.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chairman of the committee that will also include Law Minister Veerappa Moily,Telecom Minister Sibal,Home Minister P Chidambaram and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid as members.

Besides Hazare,those representing the civil society in the joint committee will be eminent lawyers Shanti Bhushan,Prasant Bhushan,retired Supreme Court Judge Santosh Hegde and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal. Shanti Bhushan will be the co-Chairman.

Though both sides talked tough in the morning,Hazare sent a draft to the government containing his demands and after discussions between Sibal and Hazare’s emissaries government sent a draft to the fasting leader.

The government draft conceded the demand for a joint committee that will have equal representation between civil society representatives and ministers and other details of the draft agreement.

Hazare was agreeable to this but put a condition that there should be a co-chairman from the civil society side with five members from both sides and that it should be constituted through a notification and not not by a letter of the Law Ministry.

“There should be a government order on behalf of the government,” he said addresing his supporters at the fast site.

He agreed to be part of the committee to keep pressure on the government and for a minister to be chairman so that the “the cabinet will accept the recommendations (of the committee).

Hazare’s announcement appeared to be an anti-climax as earlier one of his emissaries Swami Agnivesh had raised hopes of an end to the fast when he said “our mission as emissaries is over and Anna will make public his decision that will make you happy”.

The meeting between emissaries Agnivesh,Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal with Union Ministers Kapil Sibal,Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid was followed by hectic consultations for two hours between Hazare and his advisors.

Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan,who came to the stage of the fast at Jantar Mantar and was seen consulting with Hazare following which he announced the decision to continue the fast.

Dismissing a suggestion that government had succumbed to pressure,he said government and the civil society were on the same page in the fight against corruption. “It is a happy day for us,” he said.

Earlier in the evening,Hazare said “Some shortcomings have been sighted in the government draft. So the fast will continue.”

“We will let all of you know tomrorow about the decision.” The statement came in what appeared to be an anti-climax after hopes were raised of an end to the fast tonight itself.

The day was marked by hectic consultations within the government and between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. In one of the meetings,the Prime Minister told his Cabinet colleagues that the problem somehow needed to be resolved at the earliest.

Though both sides talked tough in the morning,Hazare sent a draft to the government containing his demands and after discussions between Sibal and Hazare’s emissaries government sent a draft to the fasting leader.

The government draft conceded the demand for a joint committee that will have equal representation between civil society representatives and ministers and other details of the draft agreement.

Hazare was agreeable to this but put a condition that there should be a co-chairman from the civil society side with five members from both sides and that it should be constituted through a notification and not not by a letter of the Law Ministry.

“There should be a government order on behalf of the government,” he said addressing his supporters at the fast site.

He agreed to be part of the committee to keep pressure on the government and for a minister to be chairman so that the “the cabinet will accept the recommendations (of the committee).

Hazare’s announcement appeared to be an anti-climax as earlier one of his emissaries Swami Agnivesh had raised hopes of an end to the fast when he said “our mission as emissaries is over and Anna will make public his decision that will make you happy”.

The meeting between emissaries Agnivesh,Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal with Union Ministers Kapil Sibal,Veerappa Moily and Salman Khurshid was followed by hectic consultations for two hours between Hazare and his advisors.

Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan,who came to the stage of the fast at Jantar Mantar and was seen consulting with Hazare following which he announced the decision to continue the fast.

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