Gandhian Anna Hazare on Friday pitched for former CJI J.S. Verma or former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde as chairman of the joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal bill instead of government’s suggestion that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee should head it.
Noting that the government has proposed the name of Mr. Mukherjee to head the committee, Mr. Hazare asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter to reconsider it as “people are demanding a non-political person as the chairperson.”
In his letter to Dr. Singh, Mr. Hazare wanted that the government should come out with a formal notification or a government order on the constitution of the committee, composition of members, its time-line and terms.
“Despite an outcry for me to become the chairperson, I am not interested in holding any position. I propose the name of Justice J.S. Verma or Justice Santosh Hegde to be made the chairperson,” he said.
The letter was the first communication between the Gandhian and the government after talks broke down over the issue of who should head the committee as also on the issue of a formal notification.
Through a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Hazare sought to project that Gandhi and he were on the same page on the issue of an effective Lokpal Bill.
“I wish to bring to your notice that sub-committee of your National Advisory Council has agreed with the broad content of Jan Lokpal Bill,” he said in his letter to Ms. Gandhi thanking her for appealing to him to end his fast.
He also wanted Ms. Gandhi to ensure discussion on the draft bill at the full meeting of the NAC at the earliest and recommend the outcome to the government.
In the letter to the Prime Minister, 71-year-old social activist detailed the areas of agreement and disagreement with the government on the bill issue.
He noted that the government agreed to set up a joint draft committee consisting of 50 per cent of members from the civil society and prepare the draft law by such a time so that it could be introduced in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
He told Ms. Gandhi that he was grateful for her concern over his health.
“I am also relieved to note that you fully support the cause and think that there is an urgent necessity of combating graft and corruption in public life and that the law in this matter must be effective and deliver the desired results,” he said.