Softening their stand, the civil society members in the joint drafting panel on the Lokpal Bill decided to join talks a day after the Centre conducted the meeting without them. “We’ve no intention to leave the joint drafting committee,” RTI activist and member of the joint drafting panel Arvind Kejriwal said after a meeting of Team Anna Hazare.
On Sunday, Hazare announced boycotting the meetings saying they will not join the meet till the Centre clarified its stand on inclusion of the Prime Minister’s Office and judiciary in the ambit of the Lokpal and live telecast of the meetings.
The U-turn came after HRD minister and a member of the joint drafting panel Kapil Sibal said the panel would finalise the draft of the bill by end of June, with or without the civil society members.
Kejriwal said they boycotted Monday’s meeting to protest forceful eviction of Baba Ramdev and accused Sibal of being arrogant for saying they will not cajole the civil society members anymore.
Hazare’s team was also furious at denial of permission to hold protest at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday and described it violation of citizen’s right granted under the Constitution. Instead, the police allowed them to hold protest at Rajghat.
The day-long hunger strike is to protest the crackdown against Baba Ramdev.
“We are not fighting with them (police),” Prashant Bhusban another member of the team said, adding that they had accordingly decided to shift the venue to Rajghat where Section 144 is not in force.
In the evening, committee’s co-chairperson Shanti Bhushan wrote to finance minister Pranab Mukerjee, the other co-chairperson of the joint panel, on differences between the Centre and civil society. He also presented reasons for their demands and asked the Centre to respond to the demands.