Trinamool looks difficult; Govt reaches out

Ahead of consideration of Lokpal Bill by the Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress today appeared to be acting difficult, prompting the government to reach out to the key UPA constituent to ensure passage of the crucial legislation.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held a meeting with Trinamool leaders Sudip Bandhopadhyay and Mukul Roy against the backdrop of Trinamool's opposition to a provision in the bill on setting up of Lokayuktas in the states and its decision to move an amendment.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Minister of State for Department of Personnel V Narayanasamy were also present in the meeting that took place in Mukherjee's office. The meeting came as the government braced for difficulties that Trinamool could cause in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow after facing embarrassment in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

Amid the party's clear stand that it will not allow any tampering with the federal structure, the six Rajya Sabha members of Trinamool earlier met at the residence of Minister of State for Shipping Minister Mukul Roy here to discuss the issue ahead of the Bill coming up in the House.

Roy later told PTI that the party would move an amendment to the provision in the Lokpal which relates to Lokayuktas in states. The provision should be modified, he said. The party has objection to the provision in the Bill which makes it mandatory for states to set up Lokayuktas.

Mukhjerjee last night told Lok Sabha that the government was amending it to specify that the notification in this regard would not be issued without the consent of states. However, the Trinamool Congress is waiting to see the language in this regard in the Bill as it wants it clearly specified.

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