Anna's life too precious; he must end fast: PM
On the tenth day of Anna Hazare's fast, Lok Sabha on Thursday unanimously appealed to him to end his hunger strike as his life was "much too precious", with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying he has "registered his point" and that Jan Lokpal would be considered by Parliament.
Dr Singh hailed the Gandhian, saying he had become "an embodiment of the disgust and concern of the people over corruption" and that he respected him.
"I respect his idealism. I respect him as an individual. I applaud him. I salute him. His life is much too precious and therefore I would urge Hazare to end his fast," he said, replying to a debate on corruption which was pressed for by the opposition in the wake of Hazare's fast.
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Image: Manmohan Singh
'We will find effective ways and means to discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill'
Dr Singh invited the House to issue a joint appeal to Hazare to end his fast. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj supported this following which Speaker Meira Kumar spoke about the sentiments of the House with an appeal that he should end his fast.
With regard to Hazare's demand for passing his version of the Lokpal Bill by Parliament, Singh said, "We will find effective ways and means to discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill, along with the government version of the Bill, Aruna Roy's Bill and the paper presented by Jaiprakash Narayan."
Contending that "all ideas will be discussed, debated so that we have the best possible Bill which will help us to deal with corruption, he said Parliament should discuss the "strong and weak points" of all the Bills which are in public domain and send the entire record for consideration of the Standing Committee.
'Anna is embodiment of people's disgust'
Dr Singh said he was of the view that "this will meet the point that Anna Hazare and his team have been making that Parliament must have a chance to debate the Bill drafted by them. This is one via media which will respect Parliament's supremacy and enable Parliament to take on board the Jan Lokpal Bill."
He said he had given thought on the issues raised by Team Hazare in "great depth".
Lauding Hazare, Dr Singh said he had "made his point and that has been registered with us. I respect his idealism. He is the embodiment of people's disgust with corruption."
Amid thumping of desks, he said Hazare should live a long and happy life in the service of the people.
"I respectfully request him to end his fast. This will be a befitting finale of the debate on corruption," Dr Singh said.
The government has a bill that reflects its thinking
Swaraj supported the Prime Minister's appeal and said the nation was committed to bringing a strong and effective anti-graft legislation.
Reflecting the sentiments of the House, the Speaker hoped that Hazare would get the unanimous message of the Lok Sabha and end his fast.
Contending that the government would "work with single minded devotion to leave behind for posterity" a bill to meet the challenge posed by corruption, Dr Singh said "we are open to all suggestions and we will work with all sections for a strong and effective Bill on which there is a national consensus."
He said the government has a bill that reflects its thinking. But "we are open to persuasion and have an open mind."
Dr Singh took strong exception to personal attack by the Opposition that he was "conniving with corruption" and asked Leader of the Opposition to check his assets to see whether he had made any money.