Hazare willing for dialogue, Govt opens back channel talks

Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Umesh Chandra Sarangi, who visited Hazare last night, had a second meeting with the social activist along with Indore-based spiritual leader Baiyujji Maharaj. The spiritual leader is known to several top politicians from Maharashtra.

Sarangi has a good rapport with Hazare having handled several such situations in Maharashtra under former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh when he had either gone on fast or threatened to do so. His meeting was described as "personal" by Team Anna which maintained "no compromise formula" was discussed.

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the Government was open for discussion, 73-year-old Hazare said his campaign against corruption has not closed the door of dialogue with it to resolve the differences on Lokpal bill.

"We have not closed the door of dialogue. We have kept it open. Only through dialogue the issues can be resolved," he told thousands of his supporters on a humid day at Ramlila Ground on the sixth day of his fast.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said the Centre has initiated a dialogue process with Team Anna at various levels to break the deadlock.

"The dialogue process has already been initiated at various levels through well-wishers. This dialogue is at various levels which is not parallel to each other but complementary to each other," Rawat told PTI in Dehradun.

The core committee of 'India Against Corruption' had a meeting during which its deliberated Prime Minister's readiness to hold discussions. It said no proposal has come from the government so far.

"With whom and where should we discuss what," Arvind Kejriwal, a key aide of Hazare, said announcing the five decisions taken at the meeting.

Both Hazare and Kejriwal also asked their supporters to hold dharnas in front of houses of MPs in their constituencies and demand written commitments in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

"The dharna should also cover Ministers and leaders of various political parties," they said.

Against the backdrop of the meetings held by Sarangi and Baiyujji Maharaj, Kejriwal said no proposal has come from the government so far.

Sources said the mandate of the two men was immediately not known.

Swami Agnivesh, one of the members of Team Anna's core committee, said government should appoint a negotiator to hold talks with Anna Hazare on the Jan Lokpal Bill and withdraw its draft from Parliament to create "an atmosphere of trust".

He said they were open for talks but the government should create an atmosphere for it.
"If the government wants to talk to us it should appoint a negotiator," he said.

"We are open for talks. In order to open a door for dialogue, the government has to create an atmosphere. They have to create an atmosphere of trust by withdrawing the government bill from Parliament and introduce Jan Lokpal Bill. We will not budge from our stand. This is the least they should do to earn our trust," Agnivesh added. 

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