Pranab to negotiate with Team Anna; PM appeals

Pranab to negotiate with Team Anna; PM appeals

The appointment of government's veteran trouble-shooter came on a day of hectic consultations in the government to resolve the standoff over Lokpal issue as the 74-year-old Gandhian's fast entered second week.

Close on the heels of the decision, Singh wrote a letter to Hazare appealing to him to end his fast, saying his health was a matter of "abiding concern" for the government.

He also promised Hazare that his version of Lokpal Bill could be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for which the government would request the Speaker.
The ice-breaking development came during the first direct contact between the two sides at the residence of Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit when Law Minister Salman Khurshid met Hazare close aide Arvind Kejriwal and discussed how to go about the issue.

"Just now Salman Khurshid has invited us for discussions. He has said that Pranab Mukherjee has been appointed by the government to talk to us.

Kejriwal and other key Team Anna members- Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi- were appointed by Hazare to negotiate with the government.

Before writing the letter to Hazare, the Prime Minister held discussions with Mukherjee and senior ministers A K Antony and P Chidambaram.

Rahul Gandhi also held a prolonged meeting with Singh as the government decided to hold  wider consultations to find a way out by convening an all party meeting tomorrow.
Party sources said that the deteriorating health of Anna Hazare necessitated the urgent steps as the leadership was concerned the way the agitation was panning out.

Top level Congress sources said that they expected some forward movement after tomorrow's all party meeting and hoped for a resolution of the issue by week end expressing concern at Hazare's health condition.

Abhishek Singhvi, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal, said the committee was not ruling out considering any suggestion including those from Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill.

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