08 March 2011

India Against Corruption representatives meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

The meeting yesterday evening between IAC representatives (Anna Hazare, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh, Archbishop Vincent, Dr Kuldip Chikara (Bharat Swabhimaan Nyasa), Darshak Hathi (Art of Living) and PV Rajagopal) and the PM and Law Minister, Veerapan Moily was not very encouraging.
The PM said that the governmet has no time to consider the issue of corruption till the 13th May due to the ongoing parliament session and the impeding elections in five states. The IAC representatives requested to take immediate action because the country was seething with anger and bleeding with corruption.

After great persuasion, he agreed to bring a Lokpal bill in the monsoon session of parliament. How would the bill be drafted and which bill would it be? He was informed that the govt bill was extremely badly drafted. The PM suggested that a subcommittee of "Group of Ministers (GOM)" will be constituted which will have two meetings with representatives of IAC after the 13th of May. The GOM will draft the bill accordingly after the interaction. When he was told that we were not willing to wait so long, he offered to have one symbolic meeting after 25th march when parliament session ends.

When he was requested to set up a joint committee consisting of half members from IAC and half from the government's side to prepare the draft Lokpal Bill by the 13th May when the elections end, the government simply refused.

In effect, we stand where we were before the meeting. The meeting served no purpose except made the intention of the government clear. Annaji has decided that the whole country desperately needs to act immediately on corruption. He said that it was unfortunate that the govt does not have time to address this burning issue and therefore the movement would continue and intensify. His decision to go on fast on the 5th April stands as it is.

Annaji will write a letter to the PM today which will be shared with all of you.
(As reported on the mailing lists)

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