The Congress top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, met in New Delhi on Thursday ahead of the introduction of the new Lokpal Bill.

The meeting of the Congress Core Group was held at a time when some parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party protested against exclusion of minorities from the anti-graft bench of the proposed ombudsman.

Besides the Core Group’s members like A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram, the meeting was also attended by Union Minister Kapil Sibal and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

Before the Core Group meeting, Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav had a meeting with the Prime Minister during which he suggested that minorities should be accommodated on the bench from the OBC quota in the Bill.

In the Lok Sabha earlier, RJD chief Lalu Prasad raised the issue during Zero Hour alleging that minorities had been kept out “under pressure” from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The Congress and the RSS-BJP are hand in glove. That is why there has been a delay in circulating the Bill. We will not accept it. It is incomplete. Amend it and then introduce the Bill,” Mr. Prasad said.

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