The step was taken after eminent social activist Anna Hazare, along with Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan and Kiran Bedi met the prime minister Monday evening to discuss the enactment of the anti-corruption bill. The group calls itself India Against Corruption.
“The group argued that the country expected meaningful reforms to tackle the menace of corruption in public life. The prime minister told the group that 'I appreciate and share your concerns on corruption',” a statement issued by the prime minister's office said here.
“India Against Corruption representatives presented the prime minister a draft of their proposal on Lokpal. The group accepted the prime minister’s suggestion that a sub-committee of the Group of Ministers could interact and discuss the draft with the civil society activists,” it added.
At the meeting, Law Minister M. Veerapa Moily and Minister of State in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy were also present. The PMO had March 3 invited Hazare for a discussion on the bill after he threatened to go on an indefinite fast in the capital. “The prime minister also requested Shri Anna Hazare not to carry out his threat to go on a fast,” the statement said. However, civil activists claimed that Anna Hazare “would continue and intensify” his movement. “His decision to go on fast on April 5 stands,” a statement issued by the group said.
They also added that Shanti Bhushan, senior lawyer and former law minister, had urged the prime minister that “he had personally gone through the Janlokpal Bill and was convinced that if it were passed, it would have a huge impact on corruption within next five years”.