Amidst efforts to break the deadlock between government and Anna Hazare team, senior Maharashtrian leader and Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Thursday met the Gandhian and appealed to him to end his fast.
Following a meeting of Congress Parliamentary Party, where some members felt that leaders from Maharashtra should be roped in to talk to the 74-year-old Gandhian, Mr. Deshmukh drove to Ramlila Maidan to meet Mr. Hazare but maintained that it was “in his personal capacity.”
“I met Anna Hazare to request him to end fast following the appeal by Parliament and the Prime Minister,” he told reporters after briefing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee about his 15-minute meeting with Mr. Hazare.
Describing his meeting with Mr. Hazare as “personal”, the minister said he went there as so many people from Maharashtra were there. “Many people from my place are there, the sarpanch and others. We are also concerned about his health. Our efforts are to end his fast soon. We are trying everything that we can,” Mr. Deshmukh said.
As former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr. Deshmukh has dealt with protests organised by Mr. Hazare in the State and there was a view that his experience could come in handy in dealing with the situation.
Earlier, a BJP delegation led by its General Secretary J.P. Natta met Mr. Hazare and handed him a letter by party president Nitin Gadkari who also appealed to the Gandhian to end his fast. “We have told Hazare that our party will support a strong Lokpal bill and that are solidly behind him in this campaign,” he said.