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No intention to quit Lokpal panel, says Hazare team

June 07
03:44 2011

NEW DELHI: A day after boycotting the meeting of Lokpal bill drafting committee, Anna Hazare-led team today made it clear that they had no intention to quit the joint panel and hit out at HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for attacking them.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said civil society members will attend the next meeting and contended that if they leave the ten-member committee, it will have “no credibility” as it will only remain a government panel with five ministers.

“Kapil Sibal has said that whether we come or not, they will go ahead (with the drafting of the Lokpal Bill). Why did that question arise? We had written to (Finance Minister) Pranab Mukherjee that we will not be attending today’s (June 6) meeting.

“We also said that Anna Hazare will not be available on June 10 and so that the meeting on that be postponed. So it makes it clear that we are going to attend meetings. We are not going to leave the committee just like that,” he said.

He also accused Sibal of “putting words in their mouth” and said the government should tone down arrogance.

Despite the five civil society members boycotting the meeting yesterday, the ministers went ahead and finalised some provisions of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Later, Sibal took objection to the boycott of the meeting by civil society members and said that the committee would do its work “whether or not someone comes”.

Reacting to Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi’s comments that Hazare was a mask of BJP, another activist Prashant Bhushan said such remarks deserve contempt.

The activists also defended their insistence on live telecast of joint committee proceedings saying it will give a better picture of the stands taken by both the sides.

On the question of live telecast, Bhushan said why the government was against the live telecast if they have nothing to hide.

On the issue of bringing MPs under the ambit of Lokpal, Kejriwal said not a single MP accused in the cash-for- vote scam was punished.

“For the past three years, not a single MP has been punished. Has any investigation been done? Has something happened? Our MPs vote after taking money and go unpunished.

Tomorrow they take money from someone outside the country and vote, will that not be detrimental,” Kejriwal said.

–PTI

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