After nine meetings with Anna Hazare’s team failed to evolve a consensus on the Lokpal bill , the government has called an all-party meeting on July 3 on the issue.
At the meeting, convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , the government is expected to place both drafts of the bill before the political parties. The Opposition has so far refused to divulge its stands on the contentious issues in the proposed anti-graft bill saying the government should first finalise its draft.
Ahead of the all-party meeting, Hazare’s team tried to reach out to the BJP, which had backed the social activist’s anti-corruption campaign. A delegation of activists – Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia – met senior BJP leader LK Advani in Capital on Friday.
However, Advani refrained from spelling out the party’s views on the bill saying the BJP will discuss the issue with them later since party President Nitin Gadkari, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley were out of town. He assured the activists that the party would have another meeting with them before July 3.
The delegation told Advani about the deliberations in the joint draft committee meetings on the bill and the stand taken by Hazare’s team.
Though it said the intention was not to get any promises from the party on backing its version, the activists are hoping to capitalise on the Opposition party’s support for the anti-corruption campaign. The bill has to eventually get the Parliament’s approval.
The Left parties have already indicated that they favoured bringing the prime minister’s post under the ambit of the Lokpal bill. Although the BJP is yet to make its stand clear, party leaders have been recalling that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had favoured the post falling in Lokpal’s purview. Party sources said the issue is being examined. They said the BJP will first hear the government’s point of view. With the monsoon session being put off to August, the government will have almost a month after the meeting to draft a bill.
The government is opposed to scrutiny of PM, higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs in Parliament by the Lokpal, a stand which Hazare’s team says makes the bill toothless. Hazare has threatened another indefinite fast if the bill fails to satisfy his team. Economic Times