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Updated: August 25, 2011 02:43 IST

All-party meet for new Lokpal draft, urges end to Anna’s fast

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs an all-party meeting on the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi on Wednesday. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K.Antony are also seen in the picture. Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chairs an all-party meeting on the Lokpal Bill in New Delhi on Wednesday. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K.Antony are also seen in the picture. Photo: PTI

Appealing to Anna Hazare to end his nine-day old fast, an all-party meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Wednesday sought to assure the anti-corruption crusader that “due consideration” would be given to his 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”.

However, the carefully worded resolution avoided any reference to timelines or procedures – two metrics that Team Anna has considered crucial in its drive to enact the Jan Lokpal draft within the current session of Parliament.

Dr. Singh’s initiative to take political parties on board came amid growing concerns over the 74-year-old social activist’s health condition and the growing support for his protest.

In the meeting, the majority of opposition leaders called for the withdrawal of the official Lokpal bill introduced in the Lok Sabha, a demand the Congress and its allies rejected.

As a compromise, the all-party resolution referred to the 'Final Draft' of the bill, a phrase which emerged after Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee went into a huddle with BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. Though the phrase leaves little scope for ambiguity that the Bill in its present form is inadequate, there is no clarity yet as to how exactly the Government would put in place a bill which would satisfy all quarters within and outside the Parliament.

The UPA can draw solace from three broad strands that emerged in the course of the all-party deliberations. These are that no party backed the Team Anna bill in its present form, the collective emphasis all parties placed on the supremacy of Parliament and the legislative process and the shared concern over coercive methods.

The Prime Minister set the tone in his opening remarks by pointing out that the “recent developments have raised issues, related to the functioning of our Parliamentary democracy, that concern all of us” and said that against this backdrop he deemed it necessary to seek the guidance of party leaders on the way forward.

Summarising the four conditions put forth by the Team Anna prevail upon the social activist to call off his protest, Dr. Singh handed over the floor to Mr. Mukherjee, the Government’s new interlocutor with the campaign managers of Hazare.

Former Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Laloo Prasad Yadav asked the Government not to yield to sections of the civil society and asked why those seeking accountability of the Government are bent on keeping out the NGO sector from the ambit of the Lokpal institution.

Making a case for withdrawal of the bill Gurudas Das Gupta urged the Government to draft a new bill after consultations with all stakeholders and broadest consensus. He further told the meeting if required a special session of Parliament could be considered for an early passage of the bill.

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with due respect to the parliamentary democracy, if you leave the Lokpal into the hands of parliamentarian, it will be another women's 33% quota bill.they will only discuss or disrupt and will not allow bill to get passed ; i wish that reforms on election is also taken up.

from:  t.rajendran
Posted on: Aug 29, 2011 at 12:22 IST

Government has to withdraw its tablized bill and table the Anna team prepared Jon lakpal bill and let the views of different policial parties on each and evey issues which appears to be sensitive.Ann is not fasting for grabing any constitutional and politically backed position. For the sake of nation and prevent next generation from bribing to get government facilities should not feel that our predecessors have not applied their mind during their regime to eradicate corrutption system. This is the right time and entire nation collectively want to strong and effective lokpal bill to address corruption issue which eatern our nation wealth in camoflage way.

from:  Ragavendra R Pawar
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 15:41 IST

Ministers in Parliament behaving like that they are master and ordinary citizens are their slaves, heritage from British rulers.where is democracy?

from:  narendra
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 09:19 IST

I am however eagerly waiting to see BJP's/Oppositions stance tomorrow against what has transpired today evening. If they do not convince the public, and speak against this then a befitting reply by the masses need to be given to all parties. I do not agree to the stance of The Hindu, that it must be within Parliamentary procedures. For 43 years, these folks in Parliament have looted the Country, at the entire cost of the Tax Payer, who puts them there, and have kept postponing the passing of the bill, on one pretext or the other. Their time is up, and yes, we The People will take the movement into our own hands, and will do as per Anna Ji's dictates. At least he has the Respect, and Adulation of The People, unlike the Politicians across Parties. But i am waiting to hear what stance does BJP/Opposition take tomorrow. Interesting times.

from:  Sunit Jang Bahadur
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 00:57 IST

I hope it is a time for 'ANNA ultimate power of India' to stop the fast and think about to float a political party, All +ve thinkers must make a founder team, all founder team members must have clean image, can set the framework for the candidates and founder team members should not stand for the election or should not take any position in Govt, they can only select the candidates on the merrit of the candidates, even it is better conduct an exam to candidates who would like to compete for the elections. So successful candidate can announced for each constituencies ahead of election. The guidlines for each candidate must be strong enough, such that he/she should not corrupt tomorrow. Fund required for elections must be raised from individuals only not from any organization. and they must keep everything transparent. I hope then only we can find solution to every problem and take India forward.

from:  N Raj
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 00:48 IST

Government is in bind. That is true. The all-party meeting is to help itself to get out of the bind. It didn't work. The way out is still a negotiated settlement. The government should withdraw the old one and introduce a new bill that incorporates the negotiated items and a written letter from PM on the time line before it becomes a law of the land. The government would not have been in this bind if they are sincere and not being arrogant in April.

from:  KVR
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 00:28 IST

It is very clear that no political party in India would like to have their freedom hampered by a external,powerful body breathing down their neck. This is the tragedy of Independent India. It is a policy of "Power at any cost", which in turn unleashes unlimited scope for self aggrandisement and complete control over the machinery of the state for furthering their own ends. Otherwise, how can we explain the "coalition dharma",for running a huge sub continent with a motley group of regional parties who have no nationalistic agenda? Is this not making it clear that all parties are determined to hold on to power at any cost? Therefore, respected Anna, fellow countrymen, please do not imagine even in your wildest dreams that a "Jan Lokpal Bill" will ever come about, since there is a fear complex, ab initio, for all politicians about such a bill.
The best we can achieve is, probably, to hold on to our position of 87th World corruption rank and not sink further.

from:  T.N.Kumar
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 00:19 IST
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