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Team Anna Meets Khurshid

PTI 27 Aug 2011, 9:04:44 IST

New Delhi, Aug 27:   In a meeting between the government and Team Anna last night, the former conveyed to the Gandhian's emissaries that a consensus should be built around the note struck by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his speech in Parliament on the Lokpal issue.

The meeting held at Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid's residence and also attended by Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit came ahead of today's debate on Lokpal issue in Parliament which could lead to Anna Hazare calling off his hunger strike.

Team Anna was represented by Medha Patkar and Prashant Bhushan. Indore-based spiritual leader Baiyuji Maharaj, who had earlier played the role of an intermediary in the tense standoff between the two sides, was also present.

Both sides described the talks as “positive” in which an attempt was made to exchange notes on the developments that took place during the day both in Parliament and within the government to deal with Anna Hazare's demands.

“I informed them about the decisions taken by the government and the party and on which there will be a discussion (in Parliament tomorrow). We have to make efforts that a consensus is built in the direction shown by what the Prime Minister had said,” Khurshid told reporters after the meeting.

Khurshid maintained the government had made no commitment at the meeting but assured Team Anna that a debate will take place in parliament and it will make all efforts to evolve a consensus.

The exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and Hazare as well as the mediation that has taken place till now were also discussed.

Pranab Mukherjee will initiate the debate in Parliament and Khurshid said the Finance Minister has been apprised of the views of Team Anna and all the developments.

Significantly, key Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, who had played a leading role in the earlier negotiations with the government. were not present at the late night parleys at Khurshid's house today.

Emerging from the meeting, Patkar hoped there will be unity and consensus in Parliament on the three key demands raised by Hazare: setting up Lokayuktas in States, covering entire bureaucracy and citizens charter.

“We hope there is a consensus on the three key issues.  We want unity in Parliament whether the debate takes place under Rule 184(that entails voting) or Rule 193,” she said.

The social activist said the government and the opposition should not get entangled in procedural matters.

“We want the UPA to take the initiative and move a resolution. Nothing less than that. And we want the opposition to kindly cooperate and show that they are deshbhaktas and nothing less than that,” she said.

The two sides discussed the method to be followed “legally and procedurally”.

Patkar said there were no “new talks and no new decisions” in today's meeting.

“There is no holding of Parliament to ransom or any such thing,” she insisted.

Bayuuji Maharaj said the talks were “positive and cordial and I'm hopeful tomorrow we'll hear some good news”.

Meanwhile, after the meeting with Team Anna, Khurshid met Pranab Mukherjee at the latter's residence. PTI