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Monday, 22 August 2011

Sri Sri Ravishankar calls on NDA to solicit support for Hazare’s demands

Anna Hazare having a word with Sri Sri Ravishankar during the seventh
day his fast at Ramlila Ground in New Delhi on Monday.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar on Monday met NDA leaders on behalf of Anna Hazare at senior BJP leader L.K. Advani’s residence to discuss the Lokpal issue and garner opposition support for the cause the Gandhian is fighting for.

Though there was no official word from either side about the meeting, sources said Sri Sri Ravishankar praised Mr. Hazare as a good man who should be supported at this juncture.

He said a way should be found out to end the deadlock and discussed in detail the whole issue around the Lokpal Bill.

The spiritual guru, who is also acting as Mr. Hazare’s emissary in talks with the government, wanted to know the NDA view on the Lokpal issue and solicit its support to the demands being raised by the Gandhian.

Civil society activists Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal had planned to accompany Sri Sri Ravishankar to the NDA meeting but kept away at the last moment, reportedly due to heavy media presence at Mr. Advani’s residence.

Sources said the NDA held a separate meeting to decide its strategy in Parliament in the wake of the developments in Mr. Hazare’s agitation.

“We have decided not to disrupt Parliament tomorrow and will press for a discussion on the new corruption issues. The CAG reports on KG Basin deal, Air India as well as the other corruption issues will be discussed,” a senior NDA leader said.

In Monday’s NDA meeting, the opposition also decided not to join hands with the nine political parties, led by the Left, which will hold protest demonstrations inside and outside Parliament on Tuesday on a host of issues — including corruption, farmers’ rights, price rise and attack on democratic institutions.

Though NDA will not participate in Tuesday’s strike call, it has decided to mobilise its own cadre to hold protests and demonstrations against corruption.

BJP has chalked out an ambitious plan of enrolling 10 Lakh youth through its youth wing BJYM and form a Yuva Vahini (youth brigade) for the purpose.

The NDA has decided to have a discussion on corruption under Rule 193 in Lok Sabha. This is a climb down on its part as there would be no voting on the resolution. Earlier, the NDA had demanded a discussion on corruption under Rule 184, which entails voting. The wording of the resolution was being finalised between the government and the opposition.

The NDA does not want to be seen voting with the government as it happened during the debate on price rise earlier this month. The Left and other parties voted and asked for a division of votes and since the wording of the resolution was agreed upon by UPA and NDA, the two voted for it.

BJP sources said the party is also expecting a call from the government amid reports that the Prime Minister himself is planning to take the party and the NDA alliance on board on the Hazare issue. This may lead to a slight revision in its plans, sources said.


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