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Respect political process: Govt to team Anna
New Delhi, JUN 16 (AGENCIES):
Published on 17 Jun. 2011 12:46 AM IST
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Amid growing differences with civil society members on the proposed Jan Lokpal Bill, the UPA Government on Thursday hit back at Team Anna saying they will draft a strong and sound Lokpal Bill by June 30.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “Hope to do it along with the members of draft Lokpal Bill committee. We continued with the work even when they stayed away. It is our indication of our resolve and intention of what we want to do.” Chidambaram at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday added, “Bill is intended to put in place a strong institution to help all of us to combat corruption. There is a constitution, basic features which cannot be altered. There are political realities. No party in India commands majority in parliament. There is a gap between what is desirable and feasible. We must respect political process.”
He also added that other political parties too have a view and that has to be respected. Chidambaram assured, “Once the bill is passed, one will say that a good Job is done.”
Accusing the Government of not being keen on fighting corruption, social activist earlier in the day Anna Hazare said, “The Government forcibly broke the fast of Baba Ramdev. I am not scared of anything like this. I am ready to face lathicharge. I am going to begin my fast again at Jantar Mantar from August 16 onwards.”
“If there have to be two drafts, then why was this joint committee formed. They could have told us earlier. Our draft was known to them. Why waste so much of time? It is clear that the government has no intention to bring an effective bill,” Hazare said.
However, the Hazare camp made it clear that they will attend the meetings of June 20 and 21 to see what the government has to say on the issue.
Hazare’s aide Arvind Kejriwal said the government has “frittered away a huge opportunity” to frame a strong bill and take credit for it. “What the government is now bringing is not a Lokpal Bill but a ‘Jokepal’ Bill.”
Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said, “When the process started what was presented to us was a version of the draft Jan Lokpal bill. We have been analysing it under constitutional framework. In several areas we have an agreement with them. There are certain fundamental disagreements with the issues. Basic issue confronting us was the structure of Lokpal committee. There were discussions on the structure of Lokpal Bill, these were not decisions, but discussions.”
On Hazare’s decision to go on fast on August 16, Sibal added, you can’t threaten a negotiating process.”
Sibal also stated that a parallel government cannot be there, which controls the activities of government. Sibal mentioned that issues which need to be focussed upon are not being discussed and focussed. He posed a question at the same press conference, “Are the comments made on ministers a part of serious discourse by civil society?” Sibal also said what is being presented in public may be for some other purpose. We did not ask them not to come on June 6. “Government is serious on drafting the Lokpal Bill.”
He also added that the government is willing to negotiate even after threat and none of the other issues raised was even discussed. “This is not the way that nominees of Anna Hazare should carry forward the discourse.”
Union Minister Salman Khurshid said, “We showed restraint in yesterday’s meeting from the beginning. We were clear that we wanted the draft to be ready by June 30. We felt distressed on things said outside.” He said, “Lokpal is not going to get killed. We are confident of bringing a strong Lokpal Bill.”

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