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Anna's close aides being sidelined?

delhi Updated: Aug 27, 2011 10:51 IST
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Social activist Anna Hazare's close aides Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi seem to have been sidelined now as they were not present in the meeting with the government late on Friday night as well as Saturday morning.

This might have happened due to their hard stand and adamant posture on certain issues over Lokpal. Instead Team Anna was represented by Medha Patkar, Prashant Bhushan and Indore-based spiritual leader Baiyuji Maharaj.

Since a consensus is needed to resolve the contentious issue as early as possible, an approach of flexibility is needed while participating for crucial talks.

Due to widespread criticism of Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, it seems they have been pushed to the background so as to facilitate a resolution.

Last night both sides described the talks as "positive" in which an attempt was made to exchange notes on the developments that took place during the day both in Parliament and within the government to deal with Anna Hazare's demands.

"I informed them about the decisions taken by the government and the party and on which there will be a discussion (in Parliament tomorrow). We have to make efforts that a consensus is built in the direction shown by what the Prime Minister had said," Khurshid told reporters after the meeting.

Khurshid maintained the government had made no commitment at the meeting but assured Team Anna that a debate will take place in Parliament and it will make all efforts to evolve a consensus.

The exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and Hazare as well as the mediation that has taken place till now were also discussed.

Pranab Mukherjee will initiate the debate in Parliament and Khurshid said the finance minister has been apprised of the views of Team Anna and all the developments.

Significantly, key Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, who had played a leading role in the earlier negotiations with the government. were not present at the late night parleys at Khurshid's house today.

Emerging from the meeting, Patkar hoped there will be unity and consensus in Parliament on the three key demands raised by Hazare: setting up Lokayuktas in States, covering entire bureaucracy and citizens charter.

"We hope there is a consensus on the three key issues. We want unity in Parliament whether the debate takes place under Rule 184(that entails voting) or Rule 193," she said.

The social activist said the government and the opposition should not get entangled in procedural matters.

"We want the UPA to take the initiative and move a resolution. Nothing less than that. And we want the opposition to kindly cooperate and show that they are deshbhaktas and nothing less than that," she said.

The two sides discussed the method to be followed "legally and procedurally".

Patkar said there were no "new talks and no new decisions" in Friday's meeting.

"There is no holding of Parliament to ransom or any such thing," she insisted.

Bayuuji Maharaj said the talks were "positive and cordial and I'm hopeful tomorrow we'll hear some good news".

Meanwhile, after the meeting with Team Anna, Khurshid met Pranab Mukherjee at the latter's residence.