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Ralegan sarpanch to meet Rahul

A three member team including Anna Hazare’s close aides Jaisingh Mapari, sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi and Suresh Pathare, a member of the IAC core committee, will meet Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to pave way for Rahul to visit Ralegan Siddhi.

mumbai Updated: Oct 17, 2011 00:14 IST
Yogesh Joshi

A three member team including Anna Hazare’s close aides Jaisingh Mapari, sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi and Suresh Pathare, a member of the India Against Corruption core committee, will meet Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday.

This is to pave way for the Congress general secretary’s possible visit to the hamlet.

Mapari and Pathare’s meeting with Gandhi was scheduled after the latter expressed his interests to know more about the development of Ralegan Siddhi, a winner of the ideal village award, through congress member PT Thomas.

Thomas in his visit to Ralegan Siddhi on Sunday met Hazare and his aides to gather information about the villages development.

During his visit, Thomas told Hazare and his team about Gandhi’s willingness to know more about Ralegan Siddhi and invited Mapari to visit Delhi for a meeting with Gandhi. The meeting was fixed after Hazare agreed to his aides visiting Delhi to meet Gandhi.

Mapari’s scheduled meeting with Gandhi and latter’s keenness to visit Ralegan Siddhi comes after Hazare decided to put off his campaign against the Congress in poll bound states such as Uttar Pradesh till the winter session of Parliament.

“We have been told that Gandhi wants to know about our village and its development. During our meeting we will also discuss the issue of Jan Lokpal and ask him to visit our village,” said Mapari. He also said that Hazare in a written message since he is on a vow of silence, has allowed the visiting team to discuss Jan lokpal with Gandhi.

The third person to accompany Mapari and Pathare to Delhi includes chairman of Yadavbaba trust Ramdas Ugale.

Another close aide of Anna, Suresh Pathade told HT that as Gandhi has shown keen interest about the village, the team will invite him here.

On October 8, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre visited Ralegan Siddhi and met Hazare.

During the meeting Thakre reportedly tried to convince Hazare from calling off his anti-Congress campaign till winter session and assured him of the party’s willingness to bring an anti-graft bill during the same session. Two days later, Prime minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Hazare expressing his government’s “commitment to enact a strong Lokpal law”, which the anti-graft crusader hailed as a positive step.

A meeting between Hazare’s close aide and Gandhi is now being seen as Congress party’s attempt to seek thaw between the government and the anti-corruption crusader.

During the monsoon session, Rahul Gandhi had advocated a constitutional body to fight graft, similar to the Election Commission of India. The idea was hailed by Hazare, who was on hunger strike at Ramila ground.

A village of 2500 population, Ralegan Siddhi, situated in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district – some 85 kilometers from Pune, is considered to be a model village.

The village, under the leadership of Hazare, has made progress on various counts including environment and won Maharashtra government’s ideal village award twice.