Hegde urges Hazare to end fast (Lead)

August 23rd, 2011 - 9:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 23 (IANS) Former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde Tuesday urged social activist Anna Hazare to end his fast but continue agitating for strong measures to curb corruption.

“We are honestly concerned about his health. Everyone is concerned. I appeal to Annaji to discontinue his fast (which entered its eighth day Tuesday),” Hegde, who along with Hazare and others has drafted the Jan Lokpal bill, told reporters here.

Hegde, who was a civil society member on the joint Lokpal bill drafting committee, said if “something happens to him (Hazare), the entire movement would go the wrong way”.

The former Lokayukta said his appeal to Hazare was because of concern for his health and not because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to the social activist urging him to end the fast.

He, however, appreciated Manmohan Singh’s gesture in writing to Hazare and said it was a “right move”.

Hegde also said there was some progress towards talks between Hazare and his team and the central government.

“Some progress has been made in the dialogue but nothing concrete as both parties have reservations,” he said.

Hegde noted that while Manmohan Singh was talking of give and take, the Anna group “is not keen on talking to (Home Minister P.) Chidambaram or (Human Resources Development Minister) Kapil Sibal.”

He denied that Hazare and his team had become rigid, and said, “The government has created this situation. We have tried to talk several times”.

Hegde has been the main speaker at the Freedom Park here where hundreds of supporters of Hazare’s anti-graft campaign have been gathering daily since Aug 16, the day the social activist began his fast in New Delhi.

Hegde was in New Delhi Monday to talk to Hazare and other members of the team.

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