Mr Hazare and a group of social activists have two points on their agenda: they want the government to introduce a new law to serve as "an antibiotic against corruption." And they want representatives of civil society to be part of the committee that drafts the law. On Thursday, the government agreed to that. But who will head the committee, and its legal status remain points of difference. (Read: Govt says yes to joint panel, no to Anna Hazare as chairman)
On Thursday evening, Congress President Sonia Gandhi urged Mr Hazare to end his fast with this statement: "There can be no two views on the urgent necessity of combating graft and corruption in public life. I believe that the laws in these matters must be effective and must deliver the desired results. I am sure that Anna Hazare Ji's views will receive the government's full attention as we move forward to fight this menace." (Read: Who is Anna Hazare?)
Reacting to Sonia Gandhi's demand to end his fast, Anna Hazare urged the UPA chairperson to tell the government to bring the Lokpal Bill urgently. (Watch) Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who is on the Group of Ministers drafting the anti-corruption law, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late on Thursday evening to discuss ways out of this impasse.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj wants the government to convene an all-party meeting on the issue.
Since he began his hunger strike on Tuesday, Mr Hazare has become the icon of a nation tired of discovering how it has been had by the people it elected to power. The 72-year-old Gandhian said he had no choice but to begin his die-unto-death fast -repeated discussions with the government for a Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's Ombusman Bill) were leading only to more discussion. So Mr Hazare ignored an appeal from the Prime Minister, and began his strike on Tuesday morning, unleashing a people's revolution. (Watch: Govt drunk on corruption, says Anna)
The government seems to have been surprised that Mr Hazare's call to action has resonated so loudly with middle class India. Young school children, waving the tricolour, attend his rallies with parents or teachers. Housewives say they are needed more to campaign for the war against corruption than in their homes. On the internet and on the ground, the support for Mr Hazare is surpassed only by anger and mistrust of politicians. (Read: What is Jan Lokpal Bill? | Why Anna Hazare opposes it)
On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister told his senior ministers to engage with Mr Hazare and of social activists who have joined forces with him, largely through an umbrella organization called India Against Corruption.
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal met with two of Mr Hazare's closest associates on Thursday morning- Swami Agnivesh and Arvind Kejriwal, known for his initiative in delivering the Right to Information Act to India.
Activists want the government to issue a formal notification about the committee, conferring legal status. Mr Sibal and others point out that this would set a dangerous precedent - legislation being opened up to non-elected representatives. The government has offered instead to announce the committee. Mr Hazare and others say that's not enough.
The government also says that to have Mr Hazare chairing a committee that includes ministers would be politically incorrect.
Mr Hazare announced on Thursday that while he will not head the committee, he will be a member.
For the millions across India who have now placed their faith in him, that may not be enough.
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