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Signs of a thaw as India corruption fast enters 9th day

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Activists hold talks with government
  • Anna Hazare continues his fast
  • PM Singh writes to Hazare

New Delhi (CNN) -- Anti-corruption activists and federal ministers have begun negotiations to end their deadlock over an anti-corruption bill as a 74-year-old campaigner's hunger strike entered its ninth day Wednesday.

Anna Hazare looked weak as he spoke to tens of thousands of his supporters. He credited them with giving him the "energy" he needs to carry on with his fast to demand a powerful citizen ombudsman or Lokpal.

Hazare's aides and government ministers started their talks Tuesday amidst signs a compromise may emerge.

Arvind Kejriwal, a Hazare adviser, told crowds at the protest site that differences have narrowed down on three primary issues.

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In his latest address, Hazare insisted he would not end his fast until the government also agreed to any outstanding points, which include bringing members of India's lower bureaucracy under the ombudsman's office.

Meantime, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Hazare, expressing his concern over the fasting activist's health.

In his letter, Singh also said that fighting corruption is a common objective.

"I have maintained that your and our object is identical ... to reduce significantly, if not eliminate, the scourge of corruption from this country," Singh wrote. "At worst, our paths and methodologies may differ, though I do believe that even those differences have been exaggerated," Singh wrote.

"The government is committed to passing a constitutionally valid and the best possible Lokpal legislation with inputs from civil society with the broadest possible consensus," Singh said in the letter posted on the government's website.

 
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