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Lokpal Bill row: Manish Tewari apologises to Anna

Lokpal Bill row: Manish Tewari apologises to Anna

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New Delhi:  On the tenth day of his hunger fast, Anna Hazare is receiving considerably warmer regards from the same government that had him arrested and then moved to Tihar Jail earlier this month.

First, the Prime Minister, in a lengthy speech in Parliament, said he respects Anna Hazare, urged the 74-year-old activist to end his fast, and offered a new solution to end the Lokpal Bill crisis.

Then, Congress party spokesperson Manish Tewari offered Anna an apology in a statement. This is what he had to say: "You know in the cut and thrust of political discourse, at times certain things get said inadvertently, which cause hurt, which cause anguish and which cause pain. I know that some of my recent utterances have caused hurt to Mr Anna Hazare.

''To him I would like to say that I regret the same. I am personally concerned about his health and I would like to appeal to him... join in the appeal which the Prime Minister has made in the House today that he should end his fast. In democracy there is always room for discourse, there's always room to sit and talk, and if any of my utterances have caused those that anguish, then I regret the same.''

But, Mr Hazare's lawyer said a case of defamation would be filed against the Lok Sabha MP in a court next week.

"We will file a case against Manish Tewari under IPC Section 500 for the defamatory remarks made by him against Hazare on August 14, describing him as a corrupt person at a public forum," advocate Milind Pawar said.

Pawar, who returned to the city from Delhi last night, said Mr Hazare's secretary had given him a go ahead for filing of the criminal complaint against the Congress MP from Punjab.

Before Anna began his hunger strike against graft, Mr Tewari had accused Anna of being corrupt "from head to toe." He had also referred to Anna's associates as a combination of "armchair fascists, overground Maoists, closet anarchists funded by invisible donors."

After Mr Tewari's remarks, the party was asked by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to refrain from any personal attacks against the Gandhian activist. 

(With PTI inputs)

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