Anna has the support of people, admits Ambika Soni

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: Parliament to take final call on Lokpal bill : New Delhi : Even as anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare has started his fast at capital's Ramlila ground, Union Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni has no idea whether any behind the door effort is on to engage Anna in order to resolve all the outstanding issues in respect of Lokpal bill.

She, however, points out that government is ready to talk. “ While addressing the nation on 15 August, Prime minister said his government is open to talks to settle the matter.” In a no-holds barred interview with Ms Anurradha Prasad, Ambika Soni was candid enough to admit that  “ I have no idea whether any track-2 efforts are going on with team Anna to resolve the complex issue. In any case, government has accepted 34 points of bill made by team Anna. There is difference of opinion on other points.”

She, however, made it clear that government always keep the doors open for talks and dialogue. It always welcome inputs from any quarter. The interview with Ambika Soni will be aired at 9.30 pm tonight on News 24 channel.

Ambika Soni  also accepts the fact Anna is getting lot of support from people across the country. “ But, that is no indication that he has the support of whole of India.”

'Do you think the movement for stronger Lokpal bill is the most challenging political crisis UPA-2 is facing ?'  “ I do not know, but  our government is very serious to root out the menace of corruption. And it is true that as media exposed series of scam, people are very annoyed with even the political class of the country,” she said.

Replying to a direct barb 'as to why the image of government has taken the nose dive when the image of PM is very clean?' Ambika Soni said, “ I feel this is the manifestion of people's anger against all those who are involved in scams. I also feel that people more often than not tend to support who raise the banner against corruption. It happens in the past and it is happening now.”

Ambika Soni, who is very active in putting the views of her government on Lokpal bill to media, was very critical of some members of team Anna for calling many ministers and MPs as rank corrupt. “ How can anybody make such a wild allegations against the elected members of parliament. This is the insult of people who have voted for them in election,” Ambika Soni said, who almost lost her temper while answering the this question.

'But why government look so weak before Anna and his comrades?' Surprisingly, Ambika Soni squarely blame media for giving more coverage to Anna's movement than it really deserves. “And this is wrong impression that government is feeling helpless or weak before Anna.''

When asked as to why government did not take opposition parties into confidence in dealing with the issue as important as Lokpal bill, Ambika Soni reveals that both Prime Minister and Finance minister called a meeting of opposition parties to discuss the whole matter. It is a different matter opposition parties were not forthcoming in meeting called by the PM and FM. ' So what next ?' Ambika Soni made it clear that government will be run according to constitution. There is no other way to run the government. “ And it is the parliament that will take the final call on Lokpal bill,” she said.


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