March 23rd, 2012
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PM calls for all-party meet on Lokpal Bill

manmohan-singhNew Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is attempting to end the deadlock over the Lokpal Bill will convene an all party meeting today at his residence at 12 noon to discuss the controversial bill. 97 amendments have been moved by Opposition members in Rajya Sabha. The Prime Minister said that the meeting was part of government’s effort to achieve a “meaningful consensus” on the issue. The Parliament will not meet today due to festivals like Gudi Padwa and Ugadi.

Hazare has said he will go on a fast from March 25 if the Bill is not passed while BJP has said in the Upper House that the debate and amendments to the Bill should be taken up from where they were left on the night of December 29 when the House was adjourned amid pandemonium. The bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha in the Winter Session last year, 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.

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 Rajya Sabha as one of the members of the selection committee.Under the renewed effort, the government is planning to drop the clauses in the Lokpal Bill pertaining to setting up of Lokayuktas in states, a provision that faced stiff opposition from friends and foes alike.

A senior minister had said recently that the government was contemplating the move that would help clear the obstacles in the way of its easy passage in Parliament as also dismiss the opposition campaign that Congress was against the measure. The fresh consultation is aimed at ensuring that the anti-graft Bill is passed in the first part of the Budget Session which ends on March 30.


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