New Delhi: Convening an all-party meeting in the backdrop of Anna Hazare’s fast, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday affirmed his commitment for a strong and effective Lokpal and wanted the Gandhian to work with the government in a “spirit of cooperative engagement” in this regard.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Singh said Hazare’s fast and “failing health” are a matter of concern and that was why he took a personal initiative yesterday to appeal to him to end his hunger strike.
Seeking “guidance” from the political parties on “way forward” amid Hazare’s campaign, he said the Hazare team had demanded that their version of Lokpal be introduced in Parliament in four days and passed during this session, even if means extension, without referring it to the standing committee.
He said Hazare’s team also wanted written commitments from the government before they could “hopefully persuade” him to stop his fast.
“Yesterday, I felt that I should take personal initiative to appeal to Shri 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,” Singh said.
Noting that he had personally stated the government’s position in public on more than one occasion, he said, “We want a strong and effective Lokpal Bill. Accordingly, 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.”