Indian PM pushes to end anti-graft fast

2011-08-24 10:00
India's anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, second left, is aided by doctors as he stands up on the 8th day of his hunger strike in New Delhi, India. (Gurinder Osan, AP)

India's anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, second left, is aided by doctors as he stands up on the 8th day of his hunger strike in New Delhi, India. (Gurinder Osan, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

New Delhi - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was to chair an all-party meeting on Wednesday as the government stepped up efforts to end a public standoff with fasting anti-graft activist Anna Hazare.

In the first significant attempt to break the deadlock, Singh wrote to Hazare on Tuesday, urging him to end his hunger strike and offering some concessions to his demands for a stronger anti-corruption law.

Senior government ministers also met for the first time with Hazare's top aides, who said the prime minister's proposals, while welcome, did not go far enough and would not convince the 74-year-old activist into breaking his fast.

Hazare is staging his protest in a large open-air venue in central Delhi where tens of thousands of supporters have gathered every day to cheer on the man who has become a symbol of national dissent.

His anti-graft drive has brought people onto the streets of cities across the country, calling for an end to the culture of corruption that permeates all levels of Indian society.

The breadth and depth of support for the campaign has shaken Singh's government, whose own anti-corruption credentials have been tainted by a succession of multi-billion-dollar scandals implicating top officials.

Refusing hospital care

With his protest entering the ninth day, there are mounting concerns over Hazare's health among the team of doctors who constantly monitor his vital signs.

"We recommended last night that for safety reasons he should be admitted to hospital... but he refused to move," the head of the medical team, Naresh Trehan, told reporters on Wednesday morning.

"He initially agreed to us administering intravenous fluids, but then refused later," Trehan said.

Hazare's main demand is that a government anti-corruption bill currently before parliament be withdrawn and replaced by a more stringent version drafted by himself and other civil society leaders.

In his letter to the activist, the prime minister said he was willing to request that the speaker of parliament refer Hazare's version to the standing committee that is reviewing the government's draft.

He also said the committee would be asked to fast-track its deliberations.

Too little too late

"I do hope that you will consider my suggestions and end your fast to regain full health and vitality," Singh said.

The concessions marked a shift by the prime minister, who last week had condemned Hazare's demands as "totally misconceived" and a threat to India's parliamentary democracy.

But senior Hazare aides, who met late on Tuesday with a high-profile government delegation led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, said the concessions were too little too late.

"We told them that the prime minister's offer is not acceptable," said one aide, Arvind Kejriwal, adding that Hazare wanted a written commitment that his bill would be debated by the full parliament.

In his letter, Singh struck a conciliatory tone, saying his government shared Hazare's desire for the strongest possible anti-corruption law.

"At worst, our paths and methodologies may differ, though I do believe that even those differences have been exaggerated," he said.

Prominent Indian historian Ramachandra Guha, writing in the Hindustan Times on Wednesday, said Hazare's success in spotlighting corruption among India's political class had to be translated into constructive reform.

"The task now is not to further polarise State and society, but to find democratic and transparent ways of making politicians more efficient and less venal," Guha wrote.

Read more on:    anna hazare  |  manmohan singh  |  india

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:17 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Avenue
    ROAD CLOSED between Canterbury Road and the M3 Highway until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.23

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.