Team Anna softens stand as government prepares to pass bill news
16 December 2011

As Anna Hazare threatened the government on Thursday with an indefinite fast from 27 December and a 'jail bharo' agitation from 1 January if the Lokpal Bill for a central corruption watchdog is not passed soon, the government said it would come to the Lok Sabha with an amended version of the legislation before the end of the current winter session.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told the media that the government was confident of approaching the lower house for ''consideration and passage'' of the bill. However, he said the immediate task for the government was to finalise a draft taking inputs from all sides, including the parliamentary standing committee as well inputs received at the all-party meeting, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday evening.

The cabinet is likely to take a final decision on the issue either on Sunday or Monday after the prime minister's return from Moscow.

According to one report, a three-member cabinet team - law minister Salman Khurshid, home minister P Chidambaram and minister of state in the prime minister's office V Narayanasamy - will hold a meeting to finalise the bill, which will be overseen by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Bansal indicated that the winter session may be extended by a day or two to ensure passage of the bill. The winter session is scheduled to end on 22 December, and the bill could come up in the house on 20 or 21 December.

Hazare's team on its part has toned down the stridency of its attack on the government, in view of the perception that it is seriously working to pass the bill.

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Team Anna softens stand as government prepares to pass bill