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Anna Hazarei Hunger Strike Reachs 8Th Day

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New Delhi (CNN) -- A 74-year-old Indian activist warned the federal government that surging crowds of his supporters would picket elected lawmakers if his demands for an anti-corruption bill prepared by citizens were not met by August 30.

And as Anna Hazare delivered the warning, one of his aides said negotiations could help end the impasse.

Police already have been removing protesters assembling in smaller numbers at the homes of politicians after Hazare's earlier call to hold sit-ins at their doorsteps until they support the bill aimed at setting up a citizen ombudsman, called the Lokpal.

On the eighth day of his hunger strike at a large ground in New Delhi, campaigner Hazare took a stiffer posture as he told tens of thousands of demonstrators to move out of the public place to the houses of parliamentarians in the event his deadline was spurned.

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The government has not accepted the bill drafted by Hazare. The activists have also rejected the government legislation, currently in parliament

"Don't sit here if the Jan Lokpal bill is not brought in parliament by August 30. Thousands of people will then sit outside the homes of every parliamentarian," he said in his speech to his supporters.

Hazare's advisers, however, told media that the activists were open to talks without conditions.

"Any responsible person from the government is welcome, any person who has the authority to talk on behalf of the government. So, we have no preconditions or anything like that," Arvind Kejriwal, one of the closest aides of the fasting anti-corruption crusader, told CNN sister station CNN-IBN.

"We have to negotiate with the government and when you sit down... suppose someone says that look this particular provision (of the civil-society bill) is not possible in this manner, it is possible in this manner. So, solutions would emerge once the talks start," he said. "There is no reason why the government cannot start a dialogue today," Kejriwal remarked when asked about moves reportedly under way to evolve a political consensus on the contentious bill.

He, however, remained non-committal on pushing their August 30 deadline as of now.

But his comments came in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal for discussions on the legislation.

"We are open to a reasoned debate on all these issues," Singh said Monday.

Yet, he disagreed that a Lokpal could become the ultimate solution to tackling corruption

Instead, Singh urged reforms in the country's slow-paced judicial system as a key measure to fighting deeply-entrenched graft.

He reiterated that his government believed concerns over the proposed law should be conveyed to lawmakers and a parliamentary committee scrutinizing the Lokpal bill.

Meantime, some observers disapproved of Hazare's protest tactics modeled after hunger strikes of India's independence leader Mahatma Gandhi as he fought the British rule.

"Mr. Hazare is well within his rights to hold protests. But to say, 'You accept my bill and nothing else,' might amount to coercing the government and parliament," constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said.

He, however, described Hazare's support base as a clear indication of public disaffection with chronic corruption.

"I think most of the people may (not know) what Lokpal or Jan Lokpal bills are and about their implications. They have hit the streets because they are frustrated with this corruption and also with the government's handling of the whole issue," Kashyap said.

Nonetheless, he warned that democratic bodies should be allowed to work in accordance with norms.

"In the name of corruption, you cannot demolish democratic institutions. You cannot throw the baby with the bath-water," Kashyap said.


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