Civil Society to force Government to take a stand on Lokpal

Civil Society members of the Lokpal drafting committee — headed by Anna Hazare — are drafting a letter to Committee chairman Pranab Mukherjee asking him to spell out clearly what the Government wants from the Lokpal bill. The civil society members may even boycott the entire Committee if the government fails to respond to the letter.

The move is a tactic to get the government to commit itself to some points, instead of playing a ‘shifting goalposts’ game, according to the Civil Society members.

“We are writing to the chairman.. What exactly should the bill contain.. Why are they opposing the kind of bill that people want,” Shanti Bhushan, co-chairman of the drafting committee said, as he walked in to the meeting of civil society leaders today.

It is expected that the leaders will say that the recent events, including the crack-down on Baba, has raised doubts about the Government’s sincerity and intentions in engaging in negotiations for the creation of the Lokpal.

The five civil society members, led by Anna Hazare, have already announced a decision to boycot today’s consultative meeting with the government and conduct a one-day protest in Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.

The Civil society leaders are trying to check-mate the government’s strategy of never agreeing or disagreeing with anything proposed by the civil society members. By forcing the Government to give in writing what their stand is, they are forcing it to take a stand, instead of not saying anything and agreeing and disagreeing with everything.

The Anna group is also eager to maintain the popular pressure on the government, kept up by the Baba Ramdev agitation over the last few days.

Their long standing fear and suspicion of the Government’s fluid stand was heightened yesterday after the Baba said that he was warned to keep totally away from Anna Hazare and others. “They have no intention of working constructively on the Lokpal bill,” Baba said of the Government.


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