Sonia, Anna meeting is courtesy, insists Cong

Sonia, Anna meeting is courtesy, insists Cong

Social activist is busy meeting political leaders to garner support

“Difference of opinion is different thing, courtesy is different thing,” said a senior Congress leader on being asked if the party is giving Anna time to resolve his differences with the government after several rounds of the joint-drafting committee with his team yielded no results. The senior Congress leader said though many in the party ranks “don’t like Hazare, but she (Sonia Gandhi) has maintained courtesy in the past and will do so now”.

However, the leader did not specify a date of the meeting, saying only that it would not be delayed long. Hazare has been meeting political leaders across the spectrum to garner support for the civil society’s version of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Inclusion of the Prime Minister’s office under the Lokpal’s ambit has been a sticking point between the government and civil society activists in the joint drafting panel.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hazare had said he will try to persuade the Congress chief to include the office of the Prime Minister in the Lokpal Bill, something the party has been opposing consistently.

The Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, has instead endorsed the draft prepared by the government that leaves the PM’s office out of the Lokpal.

The government is also trying to develop political consensus for its version of the anti-corruption legislation and has called an all-party meeting on July 3 to discuss the issue.

To ensure support for the Jan Lokpal Bill in the all-party meeting, Hazare has been making frantic efforts. In last two days, he has met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, CPM leader Prakash Karat, CPI leader A B Bardhan, RLD chief Ajit Singh and is scheduled to meet veteran BJP leader L K Advani on Friday.

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