Bill out of our hands: Govt
Although the UPA government is prepared for the long haul over Anna Hazare's agitation for implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, there is mounting concern over his venturing into the political danger zones of land acquisition reforms and Commonwealth Games corruption. Shishir Gupta reports.delhi Updated: Aug 20, 2011 23:58 IST
Although the UPA government is prepared for the long haul over Anna Hazare's agitation for implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, there is mounting concern over his venturing into the political danger zones of land acquisition reforms and Commonwealth Games corruption.
At the same time, the government is also clear that there can be no changes from its side to the Lokpal Bill that is with the standing committee of Parliament.
The UPA's crisis managers, though, are hoping Hazare's agitation will take a downturn after the long Janmashtami weekend as fatigue sets in among the public after a week of protests.
"There is no way the government can change the Lokpal Bill as it is now the property of Parliament and with the standing committee. The onus is on Team Anna. They are free to engage the committee on the issue as many times as the two decide," said a senior minister.
Even the Centre's back-channel negotiations are only designed to make Hazare climb down rather than offer compromise.
While waiting for Team Anna to blink, senior ministers emphasise that the Congress is in sync with the government on its response to Hazare's agitation, through formal and informal meetings.
In fact, there is unanimity among UPA crisis managers such as Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Kapil Sibal that they won't allow Hazare to hold Parliament to ransom over his demand for implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill as is.
According to government sources, the only discordant note among UPA managers is over the decision to allow Hazare to protest at JP Park and his subsequent arrest. The decision to arrest Hazare was taken at the administrative level in the home ministry with Chidambaram being informed at the last moment. At a recent meeting, one senior minister made it clear Hazare shouldn't have been allowed to fast at JP Park from the very beginning and the Delhi Police should have suggested the Burari grounds instead.