Unwilling to lay its cards on the table and angry at not being consulted on a draft Lokpal Bill when discussions were going on between Team Anna and five Ministers, the Bharatiya Janata Party is undecided on attending the all-party meeting to discuss the issue, scheduled for Sunday.
The government has been hoping to get an idea of what different political parties are thinking on key issues like bringing the Prime Minister and the higher judiciary within the purview of a Lokpal authority. But it seems that the BJP has suddenly changed its mind from “of course we will attend” to “do not assume we will attend the meeting.”
Team Anna is scheduled to meet the BJP leaders, including both Leaders of the Opposition, here on Friday when the civil society members will try to persuade the Opposition party to back its draft Lokpal bill as opposed to the government’s version.
Following this, the party will be meeting its allies on Saturday to try and formulate a National Democratic Alliance stance on this contentious piece of legislation. Although a key ally, the Akali Dal, has already stated publicly it did not want the Prime Minister under the Lokpal, the BJP is shy of making its view clear.
Only after these two meetings will the party make up its mind whether it will or will not attend the all-party meeting.
On Thursday, BJP president Nitin Gadkari told a television channel: “The NDA will meet [on Saturday] and take a decision on whether [or not] to attend the all-party meeting.” By afternoon, party’s chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told journalists: “You cannot presume we will or will not attend the meeting.”
The BJP’s stand is that the government failed to consult parties when it started talking about a draft bill on the drafting committee. Only when it found itself locked in a stalemate on that committee did it think of calling an all-party meeting. Hindu