Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday said he was willing to be a mediator and talk to Anna Hazare if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted him to do so.
Mr. Shinde, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister who knows Mr. Hazare well, said there should be discussions and it will take place. Mr. Hazare hails from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.
Talking to reporters in Solapur, Mr. Shinde said that government wanted to curb corruption, but there was no quick-fix.
He refused to answer when asked whether Mr. Hazare’s campaign was justifiable, but said the Prime Minister would resolve the situation soon.
“Sometimes leaders come with their demands. Now all demands can’t be fulfilled. Some are acceptable, while some are not. For that discussions takes place and it will happen,” Mr. Shinde said when asked whether there should be a dialogue between the government and Team Anna.
In 2003, Mr. Shinde as the former Chief Minister was confronted with a similar dilemma when Mr. Hazare went on an indefinite fast demanding the sacking of four Ministers in the State government on charges of corruption. Mr. Shinde formed a commission under a retired judge to probe the allegations.
Three ministers — Sureshdada Jain, Nawab Mulik and Padmasinh Patil — all belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party were asked to resign.
The fourth Minister, Vijaykumar Gavit, got a clean chit.