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Aug 24, 2011, 09.35 PM IST
The all-party meeting on the Lokpal Bill on Wednesday failed to arrive at a consensus with leaders cutting across party lines making it clear that Parliament was supreme.
The meeting, held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 7 Race Course Road residence in New Delhi, also asked for changes in the Government's Lokpal Bill that has already been tabled in Parliament and sent to the standing committee.
After the meeting Singh hoped that Hazare would listen to the appeal made at the all-party meeting and call off his fast. Singh said that Parliament cannot accept a deadline to pass any legislation and admitted that the Government was in a "bind" from which it has to come out with "practical and pragmatic" solutions.
"It is their suggestion. It does not mean we accept everything," the Prime Minister replied on Team Anna's deadline for passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill at an Iftar party hosted by him at his residence after the all-party meeting.
"I have always been in favour of inclusion of the Prime Minister in
Lokpal. But my experienced colleagues say it will not be desirable," he added.
Sources present at the all-party meeting said that out of 40 points presented by the civil society in its Janlokpal bill, there was complete agreement on 26, broad agreement on seven and persisting differences on the remaining seven.
The seven points on which the differences remain include a single law providing for Lokayuktas in states, bringing Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs in Parliament in the ambit of Lokpal, coverage of all civil servants, definition of Lokpal and selection process of Lokpal.
Nine Opposition parties from the non-United Progressive Alliance and non-National Democratic Alliance camps, which included the Left Front, Telugu Desam Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, AIADMK and others, asked the Government to withdraw the Lokpal Bill and introduce a strong and effective bill.
"We had demanded that the Government bill must be withdrawn. A new bill should be introduced which should have important point from the Jan Lokpal Bill and other sections of the civil society," said CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
Yechury said that the Government has agreed to withdraw the Lokpal Bill and introduce a new and stronger version of the legislation.
BJP MP Sushma Swaraj, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, claimed that the Government was reluctant to withdraw the Lokpal Bill.
Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi said that there was no unanimity among the parties on the Lokpal Bill. Joshi said that the all-party meeting has also appealed jointly to Anna Hazare to break his fast.
"This 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 which is supported by a broad national consensus," a statement released at the end of the meeting said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was against Team Anna's demand for having lokayuktas in every state. The leaders were also unanimous that Team Anna's strident demand of a deadline for the tabling and passing by Parliament of the Jan Lokpal Bill was unacceptable.
The Government, too, has not agreed to Anna Hazare's demand of passing Jan Lokpal Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
The all-party meeting was called by Singh to discuss the new Lokpal Bill draft that the Government and Team Anna had finalised.
Meanwhile, Union Minister V Narayanasamy said that the Department of Personnel has forwarded Jan Lokpal Bill to Parliament Standing Committee for consideration.
"Government appeals to Hazare to end his fast and help bring a strong, effective Lokpal Bill. It is for the Standing Committee to consider the Jan Lokpal Bill. The government has an open mind," Narayanasamy said in the Rajya Sabha.
(With additional information from PTI)
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