Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the all-party meeting in New Delhi on Lokpal on Friday was part of government’s effort to achieve a “meaningful consensus” on the issue.
Dr. Singh will meet senior leaders of all parties at his residence to discuss the controversial Bill, to which 97 amendments have been moved by Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha.
“We have called a meeting of political parties. It is our effort to achieve a meaningful consensus,” Dr. Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
The Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in the winter session, remained short of going through the procedures of passage in the Upper House at that time as the term of the session had expired.
Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanaswamy was in the midst of replying to the debate when the session expired at midnight.
Opposition parties have moved 97 amendments to the Bill in the Rajya Sabha some of which were contentious and the meeting would discuss ways to evolve consensus on them, sources said.
Some of the amendments, the sources said, are for bringing the Prime Minister’s Office under the Lokpal, seek exclusion of Lokayukta from the Bill, abolition of minority quota and inclusion of Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha as one of the members of the selection committee.
The government is keen on passing the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha even as the opposition parties and social activist Anna Hazare have renewed pressure on the issue.