New Delhi : Noting that Anna Hazare’s failing health was a matter of “concern” for all, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said the 74-year-old activist would end his fast if he got a written commitment on the key contentious issues.
“The fast of Anna Hazareji and his failing health are a matter of concern to all of us. Yesterday, I felt that I should take a personal initiative to appeal to Anna Hazareji to end his fast so that we may work together in a spirit of cooperative engagement to bring into existence a strong Lokpal,” the prime minister said in his opening remarks at an all-party meet called to evolve a consensus on a strong Lokpal bill.
“If a written commitment can be given with timelines, then the (Team Anna) representatives said they can hopefully persuade Annaji to stop his fast,” Singh added.
Team Anna has said that Hazare would end his fast only after the government withdraws its Lokpal bill and instead presents their version of the document (the Jan Lokpal bill), which advocates the inclusion of prime minister, judiciary and lower bureaucracy in its ambit.
“… we would like the standing committee to consider all points of view to evolve a broad based national consensus to create a strong institution of the Lokpal,” the prime minister said.
Team Anna also wants parliament to discuss and pass the Lokpal bill in the current session.
On Wednesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal indicated that a special session could be called, if necessary, to pass the Lokpal bill and that the proceedings of the standing committee that is considering the measure could be expedited.
Hazare’s fast entered the ninth day Wednesday. Doctors have expressed concern for his worsening health.