If demands not met, Team Anna to hit the streets

If demands not met, Team Anna to hit the streets

Joint Lokpal bill drafting committee to meet today

The meeting is being held in the backdrop of the boycott by the civil society representatives against the government rejecting their demand of contentious issues like bringing the prime minister, higher judiciary and  role of MPs inside Parliament in the ambit of the proposed Lokpal bill as well as the police action against fasting Baba Ramdev and his followers.

The civil society members on the committee are likely to ask the government to make its stand clear on the contentious issues and their leader Anna Hazare said they would hit the streets if their demands were not met. It is unlikely that the government will heed to their demands.

Four of the five non-official members of the committee—co-chairman Shanti Bhushan and members Anna Hazare, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal—held a meeting among themselves on Tuesday. They discussed various pros and cons of the meeting and issues that were needed to be raised. The civil society representatives, who maintained an aggressive stance over the last few weeks on contentious issues, also gave mixed signals on their plans.

“The differences could be resolved through dialogue, not through confrontation. We feel that the government has accepted some of our demands but a lot more needs to be done,” said Hazare.

“We will put forth our views during the meeting and if the demands are not met, we will start our agitation again,” he added.

Their boycott of June 6 meeting and Hazare’s one-day fast at Rajghat on June 8 have added to the bitterness to the ongoing confrontation.

The war of words between the government and Anna’s team is now not limited to corruption and a bill to curb it. The government tried to isolate Anna’s team by writing letters to political parties seeking their views on contentious issues. All important political parties, including the BJP and the Left, denied obliging the government. The war of words between the civil society and the government remained on a high pitch even on Tuesday as the Congress reacted sharply on the civil society demand.

“It is not democratic that one person tries to impose his views on everybody. This cannot go on that any person rises and starts dictating that this should happen and this should not,” said AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi. He was apparently referring to Hazare.

Dwivedi said the form of a bill can only be decided in Assemblies or Parliament after debates and discussions.

Asserting that the party was in consonance with Pranab Mukherjee’s similar views on the issue, Dwivedi said: “After all, there is a way in which democracy could function and there is a process for taking decisions. Democracy cannot function in an arbitrary manner. What will happen if tomorrow some civil society members say they do not accept results of Assembly elections.”

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