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Lokpal panel fails to arrive at a consensus
New Delhi, JUN 15 (AGENCIES):
Published on 16 Jun. 2011 1:00 AM IST
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The 10-member Lokpal Bill drafting committee is split down the middle with the Government representatives and the civil society members failing to see eye to eye over the contentious issues. The seventh meeting of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee ended on Wednesday without any breakthrough.
Both sides blamed each other for the panel’s failure to arrive at a consensus on the Lokpal Bill draft.
While Union HRD and Telecom minister Kapil Sibal said that the civil society and the Government representatives will try to arrive at a consensus on all the issues at the next meeting; RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, representing the Anna Hazare brigade, blamed the Government for the logjam.
Pointing towards fissures still existing among the members, both Sibal and Kejriwal said that two drafts of the Lokpal Bill would be prepared and sent to the Union Cabinet.
“We had a long discussion on various provisions of the Lokpal Bill. We will discuss issues of divergence. We will try and arrive at a consensus. We have agreed to meet again on June 20 and 21,” said Sibal. The civil society members on the panel clearly stated that no consensus had been reached and that the meetings were just a formality for the government.
“There has been no consensus on most of the issues. It seems that the government has made up its mind and is just giving its decision. It’s a hardline stand of the government and it seems that these talks are just for formalities sake,” said Kejriwal.
“The government is trying to kill the Lokpal,” added Kejriwal.
Lawyer and social activist Prashant Bhushan said that there were many fundamental differences between the conception of the civil members and that of the ministers on the panel, thereby, stating that the rift between the government and civil society has widened.
Bhushan said that both versions of the Lokpal Bill would be place before the cabinet and then it will be the cabinet’s decision on what form of Lokpal bill would be place before the Parliament.
However, Team Anna said that they will not boycott the next meeting of the joint drafting committee, even though Wednesday’s meet looked like a failure.

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