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All demands of Anna can't be met: Khurshid

Source: PTI
December 23, 2011 23:29 IST
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Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said all demands of Anna Hazare on Lokpal Bill "cannot be accepted" and the activist has to decide the "limits" of his exercise.

"We have included all good points (suggested by Team Anna) in the Lokpal Bill. But not everything they say we are in a position to accommodate because a lot of other people think differently," Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a conference 'Electoral Reforms in India - The Role of Intellectuals' in Bangalore.

"Anna Hazare has a role to perform and it is a legitimate exercise, but he has to decide what the limits of exercise are," Khurshid said, adding that the government would not advise him on that front.

Asked whether he would appeal to Hazare to not go on fast from December 27, he replied that personally he would not do so, but would if the government takes a collective decision on the matter. "But (for now), there is no such decision taken by the government," he said.

Asked whether the Lokpal Bill undermined the autonomy of the CBI, Khurshid said the government and other investigation agencies, including the Lokpal, would not interfere in the probes conducted by the CBI.

"CBI also must know that they would not do all the investigation themselves, Lokpal would be free to give investigation to any other agency if they wished so," the minister clarified.

"I can assure you more than the CBI, the Law Ministry understands the integrity of the investigation. We have vetted it (Lokpal Bill) very carefully and I don't believe we have any problems with it," he added.

Replying to a question, Khurshid said if corruption is encouraged by elections, as alleged by Hazare, there are ways to contain it.

"We cannot sacrifice democracy at the altar of fight against corruption. We will have to find a combined and convergent method to strengthen democracy and weaken corruption," he said.

Khurshid also appealed to the BJP to play a constructive role in passing the Lokpal Bill in Parliament. "If there are differences between the parties, they must be sorted out," he said.

However, "arguing in front of the media and sharing space at the India Against Corruption platform" was not the best way to go about it, he said.

"They (BJP) are very experienced leaders. I must not be telling them what should not be done," he said.

Reacting to the BJP charge that Congress "propped up" RJD chief Lalu Prasad for derailing the focus of the Lokpal Bill by welcoming reservation for minority quota, Khurshid said, "It will not be fair to say we have propped up or provoked him.

"Laluji is very strong in his opinions and sometimes they might help the government, but sometimes they might hurt," the minister said. "They are his opinions and I think we should respect everybody's opinions".

Asked about Congress leader Digvijay Singh's stance on attacking Team Anna, Khurshid said the party leader is "a warrior".

"He works with a sword and we are pen-wielders," he said.

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