PM holds meet, Pranab appeals to Hazare

PM holds meet, Pranab appeals to Hazare

Manmohan Singh met Gandhi, Mukherjee and Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal for an hour at his residence as the stalemate continued between the government and activists demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill.

Earlier, Mukherjee urged Hazare to give up his fast and join government efforts in drafting the anti-corruption legislation.

"I appeal to Anna Hazare to end the fast and participate in the informal committee," he said on the sidelines of an event here.

Attempts by Sibal, who is holding talks with representatives of Hazare on behalf of the government, to break the impasse with the anti-corruption crusaders have failed.

The government has rejected two demands of the activists - having a former Supreme Court judge as head of a committee for drafting the anti-graft law and notifying the constitution of the panel.

This had led to Hazare calling for a 'Jail Bharo' campaign from April 12, in a clear indication of the hardening of stance.

Sibal had also indicated that no minister would be part of the committee to draft the Lokpal Bill if Hazare insisted on having a member of the civil society as its chief.

Civil society leaders had proposed a notification of the committee to draft the Lokpal Bill and appointing former chief justice of India J.S. Verma or former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde as the panel chairman.

But all other conditions and points raised by Anna Hazare on the formation of the committee were acceptable to the government, Sibal added.

Hazare, whose fast seeking a stringent anti-graft law entered the fourth day Friday, had also wanted 50 percent of the committee's membership for prominent civil society representatives.

Sibal will meet Hazare's representatives Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal again at 6 p.m.

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