Centre to rope in political parties to take on civil society

Centre to rope in political parties to take on civil society

Though sidelined by the government in the beginning, it is now clear that the all-party meeting will decide on the profile and jurisdiction of the institution of Lokpal.

Earlier, after political parties declined to answer questions on six contentious issues, the government had to face civil society on its own.

But increasing pressure from Anna Hazare’s team has left the Centre with no option, but to rely on political parties. The government’s move has forced Hazare’s team to rally behind political parties. 

“We will approach political parties to convince them on these issues,” said RTI activist and civil society representative Arvind Kejriwal. The all-party meeting on the draft bill is being held in the first week of July.

Most political parties, including some UPA partners, have expressed displeasure over the functioning of the Lokpal bill joint drafting committee.  Soon after the announcement of an all-party meeting, the parties have started  voicing  their opinions on the contentious issues.

The Left, which supported the inclusion of the prime minister in the Lokpal ambit, wanted to keep the higher judiciary out from it.

“Since the prime minister controls many departments his exclusion will result in leaving out a big part of the government machinery,” CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said on Monday. However, he said corruption charges against judges could be looked into by the proposed Judicial Commission.

The Shiroamni Akali Dal is in favour of including the judiciary and all others, but opposed to the inclusion of the prime minister.

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