The Government on Friday said a discussion on the Jan Lokpal Bill as demanded by Anna Hazare may not be possible in Lok Sabha during the day, but added that this does not mean there will be no discussion on the Bill in future.
“I am afraid, as of now, there does not seem to be any likelihood of it (Jan Lokpal Bill) being taken up today because no notice has been given by any member, nor does the revised list of business carry the item for discussion,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal told reporters here.
“I am not saying that there will be no discussion, but it looks less likely today because of other businesses, including private members’ bill,” he said.
There are rules and procedures to be followed and some member has to give notice for discussion. It can be given from by a Congress member, he said.
Asked whether this meant that there will be no discussion on the Bill, he said “No, I am not saying that. There will be a discussion, but it has to be decided when and how to do it.”
On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurances on Thursday on a discussion in the House, and the situation in view of the deteriorating health of Mr. Hazare, Mr. Bansal replied that he would like the Gandhian to call off his fast.
Asked whether he ruled out the possibility of a discussion on Friday, Mr. Bansal said he was not ruling out such a possibility because it can be worked out, and if a decision is taken, the media will be informed.
“I hope Anna’s health does not deteriorate further and he breaks his fast. The Prime Minister appealed emotionally to him on Thursday that the nation is with him. What more can the Parliament do?,” he said, as the Gandhian’s fast for a strong Lokpal entered the 11th day.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Salman Khurshid met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss a way out to end the deadlock.
“We want a collaborative, cooperative resolution in the House. The whole House must be party to it,” he said.
Government sources on Thursday night said that a motion will be brought to facilitate a combined discussion on the Lokpal Bill, the Jan Lokpal Bill brought out by Mr. Hazare, as also the drafts prepared by activist Aruna Roy and Jai Prakash Narain.
Consultations were under way to iron out the exact wording of the motion, they said.
Team Anna had on Thursday night reached out to the BJP, which said a solution to the impasse could be found in consonance with the Constitution if the government has a “constructive” attitude.
Activist Medha Patkar, a member of the Core Committee of Team Anna, said everything was going right till Thursday, and now the government was changing its stand.
“This is a big opportunity for the UPA, but if it wants to commit suicide, then let them,” she told reporters.
She also criticised the choice of government mediators, saying those appointed to talk to Mr. Hazare should have a clean image.
“The Government should appoint people with a clean image as mediators. (Law Minister) Salman Khurshid is fine.
(Maharashtra Chief Minister) Prithviraj Chavan is fine. But one should not forget that Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is accused of irregularities in Adarsh scam,” she said.
Mr. Khurshid is one of the members of the government negotiating team led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, which also has East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit as a member.
Mr. Deshmukh had met Mr. Hazare on Thursday as the government stepped up efforts to end the stand—off on the Lokpal Bill.