A day before veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare goes on an indefinite hunger strike to demand an effective Lokpal, the PMO expressed “deep disappointment” over Hazare’s plan insisting that the activists wanted their version of the proposed bill accepted in full.
The last-minute efforts to persuade the anti-corruption crusader to put off his fast-unto-death came hours after the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) rejected the draft of the Lokpal bill.
The NAC working group on transparency and accountability, headed by Aruna Roy, met representatives of the India Against Corruption (IAC) and other groups, on Monday to examine their versions of the Bill and compare them with the government draft and try to arrive at a consensus.
The IAC is spearheading the struggle for the creation of an effective anti-corruption ombudsman. Former cricket captain Kapil Dev has joined activists such as Swami Agnivesh, Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejriwal and former police officer Kiran Bedi in the campaign.
At the meeting, the working group appeared to be in favour of the Janlokpal bill, which has been prepared by social activists, and decided to hold more discussions after differences persisted over grievance redressal mechanism and the flow of information regarding ongoing investigations.
The PMO said a committee headed by defence minister AK Antony had met Hazare and his group following the Prime Minister’s intervention.
“But the interaction proved fruitless as the activists were insisting on the government accepting their draft in full,” the
PMO said in a statement. Hazare, however, is determined to go ahead with his fast. “I am not going back to Maharashtra till the government brings in Janlokpal bill.”