Meet turns into party of clashing interests

Meet turns into party of clashing interests

The major opposition parties, including the BJP and the Left, asked the government to withdraw its Lokpal Bill that was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4 and bring a fresh one.

The government refused to take back its version of the bill and, instead, sent the Jan Lokpal Bill presented by the civil rights group to the parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Congress member Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The standing committee at present is scrutinising the government bill, copies of which were burnt by the Hazare group on August 4.

The government move reflected its resolve to send a message that it would not bypass parliamentary procedures under pressure from the agitating civil rights supporters.
Opposition unanimity eluded the all-party meet held at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with BJP, Left parties, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal (U) seeking withdrawal of the government introduced Lokpal Bill (currently with the standing committee).

These parties  asked for a fresh bill that may have elements of Jan Lokpal, alternative Lokpal prepared by RTI activist Aruna Roy and other groups, including political parties.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) along with the Congress opposed withdrawal of the government bill.

Plea to end fast
A joint statement issued at the conclusion of the all-party meet, appealed to Hazare to end his fast saying that due consideration should be given to Team Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill so that the final draft of the legislation provides for a “strong and effective” ombudsman.
“The meeting of all parties in Parliament requests Shri Anna Hazare to end his fast. The meeting was also of the view that due consideration should be given to the Jan Lokpal Bill so that the final draft of the Lokpal Bill provides for a strong and effective Lokpal  supported by a broad national consensus,” the statement said.

“We have forwarded Jan Lokpal Bill to the Standing Committee for its consideration. It is for the Committee to decide,” Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said her party sought withdrawal of the government bill “but others were not for it”.  She said there was consensus only on one issue - that the Gandhian should end his fast. “ I am not happy”, she hastened to add.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the nine-party alliance of the Left has asked the government to withdraw the government bill and bring a new one. Yechury said there could be no deadline for passing the bill. Even if introduced in Parliament, the bill “cannot be passed in this session” as demanded by the civil rights group affiliated to Hazare, he said.

The conflict within the main opposition BJP became evident with Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha alleging lack of clarity in the party’s stand on the Lokpal Bill. The BJP has certain reservations about the Jan Lokpal Bill as well.

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