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Govt gets into a huddle as Hazare hits out following deadlock

New Delhi: Amid growing differences with civil society members on the proposed Lokpal Bill, Government on Thursday held a series of meetings to formulate a strategy to handle the ticklish issue.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hours after Anna Hazare accused the UPA of "playing tricks" with people of the country and questioned the rationale behind sending two versions of Lokpal Bill to the Cabinet for consideration.

However, both the leaders remained tightlipped on what transpired in the meeting. The Group of Ministers on Media also met at noon and is learnt to have decided to follow a `wait and watch` policy to the unfolding situation and not be hurried in its response.

A day after the "deadlocked" meeting of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill, Hazare alleged that government was "playing tricks" and he would have to restart protest if a "weak" anti-corruption legislation is cleared by the government.

After the government and civil society failed to achieve any common ground at the sixth meeting yesterday, it was decided to forward two versions of the Bill to the Cabinet for its consideration.

Digvijay Singh, however, objected to the remarks saying the government has an "open mind" but the civil society members should also understand that there is a Parliament that frames rules.

Dismissing suggestions that the government was pre-determined on the issue, he said that there would have been no joint drafting committee had this been the case.

"We are absolutely open and I think the so-called civil society members who have assumed the responsibility of the country`s entire civil society have to understand this is a Parliamentary democracy," Digvijay Singh said.

"There is a Constitution, a Parliament which frames the law and rules and which is accountable to people. So they should understand the nuances on this."

Noting that there are eminent people in the Joint Committee to draft the bill, he said that the civil society members should not say that "either the Government is with them or against them.

"This kind of attitude will not help," Singh said.

The Congress leader also dismissed BJP chief Nitin Gadkari`s barbs at Sonia Gandhi on the issue of fighting corruption saying "Gadkari is a person, who need not be responded to".

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