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Hectic talks on as Anna's fast enters 8th day

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 13:13 IST

Hectic talks on as Anna's fast enters 8th day

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Grappling with the situation arising out of Anna Hazare's fast, the government on Tuesday held hectic consultations to find a way out of the logjam with Team Anna demanding that it mandate somebody officially for opening a political dialogue on the Lokpal issue.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with senior ministers, including Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh, both of whom are from Maharashtra, a state from where Hazare hails.

Deshmukh, as chief minister, has the experience of successfully dealing with the situation arising out of earlier fasts undertaken by Hazare in the state.  Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary U C Sarangi had held three rounds of talks with Hazare in the last few days and has now gone back to Mumbai.

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Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
Photographs: Reuters
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Hectic talks on as Anna's fast enters 8th day

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The parleys Mukherjee held with Pawar and Deshmukh come close on the heels of the talks Sarangi, as also spiritual leader Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, had with Hazare. The spiritual leader is considered close to Deshmukh.

The meeting between Mukherjee and the ministers was held soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a detailed meeting with Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing  Committee, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, looking into the Lokpal Bill earlier on Tuesday.

Sources said the meeting discussed various options to end the impasse over the issue as Hazare's fast entered the eighth day on Tuesday. An all-party meeting has been convened on Wednesday to discuss the Lokpal issue.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

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Singhvi had on Monday said that differences between the government and Hazare on Lokpal Bill were more to do with methodology rather than content and maintained that the Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel was open to all kinds of opinions and inputs to send a strong and acceptable to all Lokpal Bill back to Parliament.

Congress member Praveen Singh Aron has already submitted a copy of Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill for consideration of the Committee. Civil society activist Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the government should mandate somebody officially for a political dialogue as this is not a technical issue.

Image: Arvind Kejriwal

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