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

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Hazare's main demand is that a government anti-corruption bill currently before parliament be withdrawn and replaced by a more stringent version drafted by himself and other civil society leaders.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
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is hard to keep some sort of balance when the natural rhythm has flown out the window. The best thing to do is try not to keep...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.