'I never said govt wasn't concerned over Anna's health'
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee late on Wednesday night rebutted the charges by Team Anna that he had told them the Gandhian's health was not government's concern, saying the remarks were "distorted."
Mukherjee also denied the charge by Team Anna there was a dramatic change in government's "tone" at the latest round of talks with Team Anna members on Wednesday evening compared to its approach on Tuesday. "There is no question of government not being concerned. We are deeply concerned about Anna Hazare's health. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed to Annaji to end the fast. The all party meeting has also made a similar appeal," Mukehrjee told reporters.
Mukherjee was responding to charges by Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal that he had told the three-member team of Hazare's representatives at the talks that the Gandhian's health was their "problem" and not the concern of the government "My remarks were distorted," he said.
With inputs from Onkar Singh
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Image: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
'No question of govt changing its tone'
Upset at the lack of progress, Hazare's three representatives -- Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi -- said after another round of talks with government interlocutors headed by Mukherjee that difference in government's attitude yesterday and today was like "day and night".
"There is no question of government changing its tone. We are ready for another round on Thursday," he added.
Asked whether he can give an assurance that Hazare, whose health has raised concerns, will not be evicted from Ramlila Maidan and hospitalised without his consent, Mukherjee said such an assurance should come from the Home Minister.
Image: Anna Hazare during his fast at Ramlila Ground
'I think we were very civil during the talks'
Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, who was part of Government's three-member team, also rejected Team Anna's contention on its approach towards their talks.
"We have taken a stand consistent from yesterday to today. It has also been reflected in writing in pieces of paper in order to avoid any misunderstanding and they are in a summary form," he added.
"The talks had progressed since last night in a substantial constructive manner. We had worked out specific modalities for finding a solution," Khurshid said.
Responding to allegations by Team Anna members that they were treated in an angry manner, Khurshid said, "My impression was that we were very civil. We were friendly."
Khurshid also said that something needed to be done to ensure that Hazare's nine-day fast can be "terminated" as quickly as possible without causing any injury.
Image: Union Minister Salma Khurshid