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Lokpal bill: All-party meet ends with no consensus
NEW DELHI, JUL 3 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 4 Jul. 2011 12:51 AM IST
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The crucial all-party meeting on the Lokpal Bill on Sunday ended with no consensus over the Lokpal Bill draft, sources said, and that another all-party meeting will be held soon.
A one line resolution was passed at the meeting saying that there should be a strong Lokpal Bill. The all-party meeting agreed that government should bring before the next session of Parliament a strong and effective Lokpal Bill following the established procedures.
After the meeting, TDP leader Nama Nageswara Rao said that the Prime Minister should be brought under the Lokpal Bill. “The government has delayed the Lokpal Bill. The Prime Minister must be included and judicial accounts bill need to be included.”
Although the BJP said that they are in favour of a strong Lokpal Bill, the party remained silent on the issue of whether or not should the Prime Minister be brought under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, “We want Lokpal to be transparent, we want the Bill in this monsoon session and then it should go to the standing committee, so that everyone can give their view and it can be passed in the winter session.”
Swaraj, however, said that the party has differences with the government’s draft of the bill.
“The problem arises on the question of who will select the Lokpal and who else will be in its purview. We will give more details in Parliament,” she said.
Political parties slam Team Anna
While differences remained over the Lokpal Bill draft, most of the political parties slammed Team Anna at the all-party meeting. Sources said that the CPI, RJD and SP allies said that Anna Hazare cannot hold the government to ransom.
AIDMK said, “Frivolous complaints against the PM will derail the process.”
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav questioned, “120 crore people elect us, who elects them?” The government called the meeting after the joint panel hit a dead end. Most parties have still been undecided on the contentious provisions of the Lokpal Bill. The BJP has been keeping its cards close to its chest, but the party had said that it was in no way trying to bail out the government by attending the all-party meeting.
Lokpal will have to work within framework of Constitution: PM
Affirming government’s commitment to enact Lokpal Act, Manmohan Singh said such an institution will have to work within the framework of Constitution. He told the all-party meeting that strong laws to tackle corruption were a necessary but these would not suffice as there was a need to focus on “simplifying procedures, reducing discretion, eliminating arbitrariness and increasing transparency in the way government functions.”
Singh noted that there was a feeling that institutional arrangements in place are not strong enough to ensure that the guilty, especially those occupying high positions, are brought to book swiftly and given deterrent punishment.

 
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