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Lokpal row: Fourth round of talks Today

New Delhi: The government and civil society representatives are likely to resume their talks over the contentious Lokpal bill Thursday as social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-graft hunger strike enters 10th day.

A day after their parleys ended in a logjam, the two sides will meet again around noon to thrash out a solution to the row that will also end Hazare’s fast amid growing concerns over his health.

The third round their talks on a sweeping anti-corruption law ended in a deadlock Wednesday night, shattering hopes of an early resolution to the spiralling political crisis triggered by Hazare’s indefinite fast

Hazare’s representatives — Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi — were visibly upset at the lack of progress in a 90-minute meeting with government negotiators led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

They alleged that the government had done a U-turn and not being serious about bringing in a strong anti-corruption law that would set up a powerful and an independent watchdog.
However, both sides said talks would continue Thursday.

“We are quite disappointed with today’s meeting. We will have to start from scratch if talks have to continue,” Bhushan said, adding they would be meeting again.

Law Minister Salman Khursheed, one of the government negotiators, said the two sides were still talking and would have another round. “How can there be any breakdown when they said they would come again at 12 (Thursday).”

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