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Friday, April 8, 2011

Anna to end his fast as Govt agrees to re-draft Lokpal Bill!!!!!

People Against Corruption.
People Against Corruption.
Gandhian crusader Anna Hazare scored a stupendous victory on Friday night with a cornered UPA government accepting all his demands on how a new Lokpal Bill would be drafted for presentation in Parliament's Monsoon session.
Hazare, however, said he would end his fast around 10 am on Saturday, the time by when a government order (GO) constituting a joint drafting committee - co-chaired by a senior minister (most likely, Pranab Mukherjee) and legal luminary Shanti Bhushan, Hazare's nominee - is expected.
Anna Hazare blesses a girl at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday.
"It is the people's voice that you (the government) are listening to. If you are still deaf, people will teach you a lesson. I am ready to sacrifice my life for this," Hazare said on Friday.
After a final meeting with Hazare's representatives, human resources development minister Kapil Sibal finally announced the formation of the joint panel and said it would commence the drafting work as soon as possible so that the Bill is ready for the cabinet's approval by June 30.
Besides the two chairpersons, the committee would comprise five ministers and five civil society representatives.
"This should not been seen in a victory or defeat context. If at all, it is the victory of democracy," Sibal said.
But the enormity of Hazare's victory is evident because it is for the first time that a government Bill would be scripted by a panel comprising six non-government entities (non-ministers). The Gandhian is expected to be a member.
The run-up to the movement's climax was a masterstroke that Hazare delivered on Friday after the government had said that ministers couldn't join a drafting committee chaired by a civil society leader.
Sibal had said on Thursday that in such an eventuality, five secretaries could be a part of the drafting panel. But any such move could have a created a serious problem with the Bill because it would subsequently have to be approved by the Union cabinet headed by the Prime Minister before being introduced in Parliament.
"The drafting work can start as soon as the government issues a formal written order for constituting the committee," Hazare said.
The government has agreed to introduce the Bill during the Monsoon session, which usually begins in the third week of July. But due to a truncated Budget session, the Monsoon sitting is likely to start even earlier.
The final shape of the Lokpal Bill will be decided only after the joint committee prepares its draft and Parliament passes it for enactment.
But if the alternate draft scripted by Hazare and his team is a yardstick, the anti-corruption watchdog would subsume the anti-corruption wing of the CBI as well as the statutory office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner.
It wasn't immediately clear who could be the other two non-government members of the joint panel. Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, who has courted political controversy over his actions, is unlikely to be there as he would have to quit his present office to become a member of the joint committee at the Centre.
The breakthrough was preceded by hectic consultations that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, other party leaders and senior ministers. The PM also briefed President Pratibha Patil on the issue.
The government was earlier divided on caving in to Hazare's twin demands. "It (Lokpal) would be like a super PM, a super Chief Justice of India, a super Speaker rolled into one. He is not elected. The moment he indicts a PM, he has to resign," said a senior party leader before the peace accord was put in place.
But the gathering storm forced them to close ranks. Sonia was understood to be keen on a solution and told the PM and other ministers that she did not want the stalemate to linger. Reports that the anti-corruption movement could be taken over by the Opposition played a part in hastening the government's response to Hazare's demand.
Rashtriya Swayamswak Sangh general secretary Sunil Joshi had written a letter extending support to the anti-corruption agitation.
It was handed over to Hazare by the Sangh's spokesperson. Besides, Baba Ramdev, a well-known RSS mascot, shared the dais with Hazare during the day.

Health update
On the fourth day of Anna Hazare's fast, his health parameters remained stable.
"Anna has lost two kilos in the last four days but his vital parameters are normal. His blood pressure was 160/100, his heart rate was 80, and his urine output was adequate," a doctor said.
But cries of Inquilab Zindabad at Jantar Mantar merged with ambulance sirens, as the heat and the surge took a toll on the people fasting with the veteran activist. The makeshift medical tent resembled an emergency room of a hospital, with five doctors attending to those who were brought in with low blood pressure and injuries sustained in the crowd.
Blood Pressure
Normal: Systolic 120/Diastolic 80
Hazare's: 160/100
Urine Output
Normal (adult resting): 1500 ml/day
Hazare's: 1480 ml
Pulse rate
Normal; 72
Hazare's: 80


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