There is consensus against government's Lokpal bill: BJP

Even as the all-party meeting on the Lokpal bill called by the prime minister failed to break the logjam, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley Friday said there was consensus among non-Congress parties against the government's bill.

Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, demanded that the Lokpal bill should be brought in the current session after making necessary changes.

Talking to reporters after a meeting with the prime minister and floor leaders of all parties in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said almost all parties agreed that formation of Lokayukta (state ombudsman) should be left to the states.

"I saw a large consensus in the meeting of floor leaders against the government's bill," Jaitley told reporters.

"Almost all parties felt formation of Lokayuktas (state ombudsman) should be left to the states," he said.

The BJP has also demanded making the CBI independent, making the procedure of appointment and removal of the Lokpal free of government control, and not bringing NGOs and other public funded organisations under the bill.

"Our request is that there has been a lot of consultation already, they should redo the government legislation and bring it in the budget session itself," Jaitley said.

"It won't take more than a few days to redo the bill," he said.

Jaitley added that he hoped that allies and supporting parties will "stick to their stands expressed in and out of parliament", and not "play games" by changing their stand during voting.

According to sources, government allies including Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and DMK, and Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party which extend outside support to government, maintained their earlier stands and wanted the formation of Lokayukta to be left to states.

Sources also added that the issue of keeping minority reservation out of the bill, as demanded by BJP, was not taken up in the meeting.

Talking to reporters earlier, party member from Rajya Sabha and party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar accused the Congress of not being serious about getting the Lokpal bill passed.

"We want the (Lokpal) bill to be passed, but the Congress is not willing to pass the bill because there is no real intention to fight corruption," Javadekar said.

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