New Delhi: With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintaining that the government is open to dialogue, Anna Hazare on Monday suggested that he should send his representatives for discussion on Jan Lokpal Bill. Kiran Bedi, one of the leading members of Team Anna, quoted Hazare as saying, "Let the government come forward to discuss the Jan Lokpal bill. Let the PM send his representatives." Ramesh hails idea' to send PM's reps to meet Team Anna Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh termed as "good idea" the suggestion made by Team Anna that representatives of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi should talk to them on differences over the Lokpal Bill.
She also ruled out that any negotiations were on between the two groups. "(Talk of) any negotiations are rumours," Bedi tweeted.
The suggestion came within hours of the Prime Minister saying that the government is open to a "reasoned debate" on the Lokpal Bill and that the Parliamentary panel examining it
can propose changes.
"We are open to a reasoned debate on all these issues," Singh said at the golden jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata.
As Hazare's fast demanding a strong Lokpal entered the seventh day, his close associates expressed concern over his deteriorating health.
His team asserted that they have no intention to topple the government but defended the Gandhian's remarks that it should go if the bill is not passed by August 30.
Hazare's hunger strike inched close to 150 hours as hundreds poured into Ramlila Maidan to express solidarity with the 73-year-old Gandhian who began his indefinite fast in police custody on August 16. As his protest continued, Team Anna said they were yet to hear from the government side on the talks.
"The Prime Minister tells you people (media) that they are ready for talks. But we are asking again and again where do we come? Whom do we meet? Until we don't have a concrete
proposal, we cannot react to it," activist Arvind Kejriwal said.
Asked about Hazare's statement that the government should go if it does not pass the bill by August 30, Kejriwal said Team Anna has no intention to topple the government.
"We have been repeating that our motive is not to topple the government. If the government is so insensitive even on the seventh day of protest and mass gathering, they are saying we will protect corruption and shelter the corrupt...so what is wrong if Hazare said this," he said.
Stating that they have not changed their stand and they cannot leave the government "free to help corrupt people", he put the ball in government's court on negotiations saying now the way ahead has to be decided by the government.
"If they have the political will, it will take less than two minutes to pass the bill," he said.
Government has initiated back-channel negotiations by roping in Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra Umesh Chandra Sarangi and spiritual guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. Both had a meeting with Hazare and his team on Sunday.
Expressing the hope that differences between Hazare and government would be sorted out soon, Maharaj said government was trying "really hard" to find a solution.
The day also witnessed protests outside the residences of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
The deteriorating health of Hazare has his associates worried. "His weight has come down to 67 kg from 72 kg. His blood pressure is 130/80 and pulse rate 90. Doctors say his health is okay but we are worried," one of his associates Manish Sisodia said.
Singhvi moots 'acceptable to all' Lokpal Bill
Meanwhile, chairman of the Standing Committee on Lokpal Abhishek Singhvi said the differences between Team Anna and the government was not much on content but on the
methodogy and promised to present an "acceptable to all" bill within three months.
"You and I are together as far the objective and content is concerned. The essence is similar if not identical and that is fighting corruption. There could be relatively minor differences in form.
"If the ways are a little different, it is because the government is bound by a structure and Parliamentary process," Singhvi said when asked whether the Parliamentary panel could
end up incorporating the provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill when it submits its final draft on Lokpal Bill to Parliament.
Noting that Parliamentary panels are given three months initially to give their report and it is generally followed by one or two extensions of three months each, Singhvi, however, said the panel headed by him will give its recommendations within three months.
"We will give recommendations on Lokpal Bill well before the three-month period given to us," he said refusing to be drawn into a debate on the deadline put by team Hazare.
"Competition in putting up conditions is not going to solve the issue," he said.
Hazare's associate Kiran Bedi, however, reacted sharply to it saying "Singhvi had still not understood the fever. To see the heat generated, they need to see it live." Calling for "a little more reasonableness, restraint and flexibility" from both sides, Singhvi said the Parliamentary Standing Committees have the power make even up to 80 per cent changes in the originally presented bill before it and that "there should not be any doubt in anyone's mind" about it.
If "suitable and appropriate" conditions are created, a solution is possible, he stressed.
Singhvi said one must not think that the Standing Committee will not consider the provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill. "I fail to understand why a reasonable solution could not
be found out," he said.
Asked whether the government can introduce another bill on the same issue in Parliament without withdrawing the first, Singhvi replied in negative.
"Good idea," the Minister told reporters when asked about Team Anna's suggestion after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that government was open to a reasoned debate.
Anna Hazare, who continued his fast for the seventh day today, asked the Prime Minister to send his representatives to discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill.
Ramesh said the Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament should not be seen as a standalone legislation.
Complaining that "nobody is paying attention to whatever we say" on Lokpal Bill, Ramesh said, "I think the criticism of the Government (on the issue) has been somewhat unfair."
Efforts on to resolve situation: Sheila Dikshit
As pressure mounted on government to defuse the crisis arising out of Anna Hazare's fast over Jan Lokpal, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said serious efforts are underway to resolve the issue.
"Serious efforts are on to find a solution. The Prime Minister has already spoken about it. The government is working on it (to find a solution)," Dikshit said.
Asked whether she shared the views of her son and Delhi MP Sandip Dikshit that it was wrong on part of Delhi Police to arrest Hazare, she refused to give a direct reply.
"That stage is already over. Now we will have to find solution to the problem," she said.
The East Delhi MP last week had said that the Gandhian should not have been arrested by the police.
Asked about protest outside her residence today by a group of people following a call by Hazare, she said Delhi government has not done anything wrong in the conduct of the
New Delhi: With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh maintaining that the government is open to dialogue, Anna Hazare on Monday suggested that he should send his representatives for discussion on Jan Lokpal Bill.
Kiran Bedi, one of the leading members of Team Anna, quoted Hazare as saying, "Let the government come forward to discuss the Jan Lokpal bill. Let the PM send his representatives."
Ramesh hails idea' to send PM's reps to meet Team Anna
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh termed as "good idea" the suggestion made by Team Anna that representatives of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi should talk to them on differences over the Lokpal Bill.