Parliament may get more time to debate Lokpal

Parliament may get more time to debate Lokpal

A day later, on December 14, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has scheduled a meeting of  all party leaders to seek consensus on the issue, which may turn explosive with anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare already threatening to go on a fast again for a strong Lokpal Bill.

The Bill, which was studied by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and tabled in Parliament on December 9, may be taken up by the two Houses for discussion on Wednesday or Thursday. The Bill was earlier expected to be brought to the House for a debate only on December 19.

The Cabinet normally meets on Thursdays. But, with the prime minister beginning his four-day visit to Russia on December 15 and taking into account the importance of the issue it would be considered on Tuesday. Speaking to Deccan Herald, informed sources expressed confidence that the Bill would be debated at length and passed by Parliament before the winter session winds up on December 21.

The report of the parliamentary panel has earned the ire of the opposition parties and Team Anna for deviating from several issues on which a broad agreement had been reached earlier. The opposition and Team Anna want that a Citizens’ Charter and lower bureaucracy be put under the Lokpal. They also want the prime minister to be brought within the ambit of the Lokpal but exempted on matters related to public order and national security.

The government’s bete noire Anna Hazare has already drawn up his ‘anshan [fast]’plans in Delhi.  He will go on a day long fast on December 11 and on December 27, although it is not yet known for how long the second one would continue.

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