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Government talks tough on Hazare's demands

Last updated on: April 08, 2011 10:15 IST

The central government on Friday talked tough on social activist Anna Hazare's demand for an effective Lokpal Bill, saying it cannot accede to the demands of chairmanship of the joint drafting committee being given to a civil society member and for issuing an official notification.

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A meeting of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal with activists Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal scheduled for Friday morning did not take place with both sides saying they were waiting for each other. The meeting is now scheduled at 6 pm.

Sibal said only government officials will be members of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill and that no minister will be part of it.

"There is no possibility of an official notification on the constitution of the joint committee but we have told them that we are willing to give an official letter through the law ministry and a press note," he said.

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Three of the five demands raised by Hazare and his supporters have been met by the government. These are formation of a joint committee with five members each from government and civil society, immediate setting up of the panel and bringing the Bill in Monsoon session.

On Thursday night, Sonia had appealed to Hazare to end his fast.

"I am sure that Hazareji's views will receive the government's full attention as we move forward to fight this menace. I appeal to Anna to give up his fast," Sonia had said in her appeal.

However, the social activist refused to budge. He asked Sonia to tell her government to get the Lokpal bill enacted at the earliest.

"I will fight till death," Hazare had said addressing hundreds of supporters gathered near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi after word spread that talks between government and anti-corruption activists were deadlocked.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the government's reluctance to come out with a notification to constitute the committee, he said his fast will continue.