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Anna urges Sonia to include PM, judiciary

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, July 2 � Ahead of the all-party meet tomorrow on Lokpal Bill issue, Anna Hazare today had a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in which he pressed for inclusion of prime minister and judiciary under the ambit of the legislation, reports PTI.

Emerging after the 30-minute talks, Hazare said that a �proper� draft of Lokpal Bill should go to Parliament and that he will respect whatever the House decides as he was not against Parliament or democracy. The Gandhian, however, threatened to go on an indefinite fast from August 16 if a �proper� draft is not brought before Parliament.

In the meeting that was marked by �cordiality and courtesy,� Gandhi assured Hazare that she will apprise the government of their views once more.

AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who was present during the parleys, said that no contentious issue, including of bringing the PM and judiciary under Lokpal, figured during the meeting with Gandhi but added that they have no problem with what Hazare chose to say outside about his plans.

After the meeting, Dwivedi told reporters that the party will go by the �final decision that emerges from within the government� and will �welcome whatever view emerges through collective wisdom of Parliament.�

Hazare said that he apprised Gandhi of all the issues, which have been discussed with the government as well and Gandhi gave them a patient hearing.

Arvind Kejriwal, who accompanied Hazare in the talks, said that they tried to convince Gandhi why it was necessary to bring the prime minister and the higher judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal. He said that they told Gandhi about the differences in the two versions of the Lokpal Bill.

Kejriwal said that Gandhi told them that she will take a view on these issues.

Pranab Mukherjee, who headed the Joint Committee that drafted the Lokpal Bill, and senior Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai were present in the meeting.

Hazare said, �A proper draft should go to Parliament. Only then a proper discussion will take place. If they send a wrong draft what kind of discussion will take place.

�If proper draft is not sent, we will resume our agitation from August 16,� he said.

Hazare made it clear that once a proper draft goes to Parliament, then the civil society has nothing to say further as they are �neither opposed to Parliament nor democracy.�

Asked whether Congress felt that Hazare has made a climbdown during the meeting with Gandhi, Dwivedi merely said that in a democracy, �all have the right to put forward their views, but only that is accepted on which there is consensus.�

He said Congress welcomes the sentiments of Hazare on democracy and Parliament.

Replying to another question, the Congress leader stressed that he has not said that the meeting was �successful, but it saw both sides expressing their readiness to consider the views of each other�.

Asked whether the Congress still considers Hazare a �mask of the RSS�, Dwivedi said, �It is not good to create a controversy when there is none.�

A senior party leader, who did not wish to be identified, made it clear that the Congress will not go by individual opinion including that of Manmohan Singh on the issue of bringing the Prime Minister under Lokpal.

�Manmohan Singh as a person can say anything, but only the nation has the right to decide about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,� he said.

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Anna urges Sonia to include PM, judiciary

NEW DELHI, July 2 � Ahead of the all-party meet tomorrow on Lokpal Bill issue, Anna Hazare today had a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in which he pressed for inclusion of prime minister and judiciary under the ambit of the legislation, reports PTI.

Emerging after the 30-minute talks, Hazare said that a �proper� draft of Lokpal Bill should go to Parliament and that he will respect whatever the House decides as he was not against Parliament or democracy. The Gandhian, however, threatened to go on an indefinite fast from August 16 if a �proper� draft is not brought before Parliament.

In the meeting that was marked by �cordiality and courtesy,� Gandhi assured Hazare that she will apprise the government of their views once more.

AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who was present during the parleys, said that no contentious issue, including of bringing the PM and judiciary under Lokpal, figured during the meeting with Gandhi but added that they have no problem with what Hazare chose to say outside about his plans.

After the meeting, Dwivedi told reporters that the party will go by the �final decision that emerges from within the government� and will �welcome whatever view emerges through collective wisdom of Parliament.�

Hazare said that he apprised Gandhi of all the issues, which have been discussed with the government as well and Gandhi gave them a patient hearing.

Arvind Kejriwal, who accompanied Hazare in the talks, said that they tried to convince Gandhi why it was necessary to bring the prime minister and the higher judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal. He said that they told Gandhi about the differences in the two versions of the Lokpal Bill.

Kejriwal said that Gandhi told them that she will take a view on these issues.

Pranab Mukherjee, who headed the Joint Committee that drafted the Lokpal Bill, and senior Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai were present in the meeting.

Hazare said, �A proper draft should go to Parliament. Only then a proper discussion will take place. If they send a wrong draft what kind of discussion will take place.

�If proper draft is not sent, we will resume our agitation from August 16,� he said.

Hazare made it clear that once a proper draft goes to Parliament, then the civil society has nothing to say further as they are �neither opposed to Parliament nor democracy.�

Asked whether Congress felt that Hazare has made a climbdown during the meeting with Gandhi, Dwivedi merely said that in a democracy, �all have the right to put forward their views, but only that is accepted on which there is consensus.�

He said Congress welcomes the sentiments of Hazare on democracy and Parliament.

Replying to another question, the Congress leader stressed that he has not said that the meeting was �successful, but it saw both sides expressing their readiness to consider the views of each other�.

Asked whether the Congress still considers Hazare a �mask of the RSS�, Dwivedi said, �It is not good to create a controversy when there is none.�

A senior party leader, who did not wish to be identified, made it clear that the Congress will not go by individual opinion including that of Manmohan Singh on the issue of bringing the Prime Minister under Lokpal.

�Manmohan Singh as a person can say anything, but only the nation has the right to decide about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,� he said.

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