Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Govt calls all party meet

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New Delhi: The government will convene an all-party meet on July 3 to discuss the two versions of the Lokpal bill, even as Gandhian Anna Hazare on Wednesday slammed the UPA government for not being serious about tackling corruption and reiterated he would go on another hunger strike Aug 16 over the issue.
Undeterred by Hazare’s call, the Congress warned him not to fast again else he may get the “same treatment” as yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who along with his supporters had to face a police crackdown in New Delhi.
But Hazare hit back, saying that he was “ready” for “everything” — even batons.
The UPA government had on Tuesday decided to hold discussions with all political parties on the draft of the bill — a move taken after civil society members, headed by Hazare, and government met for the last time.
The two sides submitted their versions of the draft, which are to be given to the cabinet which will approve a final version. The two sides failed to arrive at a consensus over the draft bill provisions.
Dates for the all-party political meet was disclosed Wednesday, government sources said. In this meeting, sources said, the draft bill and notes on the disagreements expressed by the joint drafting committee — the government and civil society representatives — will be circulated.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is chairman of the committee, is likely to preside over the meeting.
Slamming the claim that the civil society’s proposed ombudsman will be a virtual parallel government, veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare accused the government of trying to mislead the people.
“We have an Election Commission and the government can’t interfere in its function. We have the Supreme Court and the Right to Information (RTI) Act which they cannot interfere in,” Hazare said here.
“The government is trying to create misunderstanding in the minds of the people before our fast”, Hazare said, and likened it to a “second struggle for freedom”.
Hazare said it was also important to bring the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Lokpal to uproot corruption in the country.
Hazare has vowed to launch a hunger strike from Aug 16 at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital.
However, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh warned Hazare not to fast again else he may get the “same treatment” as yoga guru Baba Ramdev got recently. (IANS)

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