Leaders of political parties met in Delhi on Sunday to evolve a consensus on Lokpal Bill amid a demand by civil society group led by Anna Hazare that the proposed law should have the prime minister and the higher judiciary within its ambit.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had convened the meeting of all political parties in the backdrop of differences between the representatives of government and civil society in the drafting committee on certain provisions of the bill.
Besides Singh, the meeting was attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, M Veerappa Moily, Salman Khurshid and Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel (both Nationalist Congress Party), and T R Baalu (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) were among United Progressive Alliance constituents to attend the deliberations.
The Opposition was represented by Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L K Advani, Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj (Lok Sabha) and Arun Jaitley (Rajya Sabha), National Democratic Alliance Convenor and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, S S Dhindsa (Shiromani Akali Dal), Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Gurudas Dasgupta and D Raja (both Communist Party of India), Lalu Prasad (Rashtriya Janata Dal) and V Maitreyan and M Thambidurai (both All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam).
S C Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party) and Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) also attended the meeting. Other contentious issues were bringing members of Parliament conduct inside Parliament, Central Bureau of Investigation anti-corruption wing and lower bureaucracy across the country within the ambit of Lokpal, besides mode of financing and the panel for selecting the ombudsman.
The government is learnt to have presented to the parties a comparative draft of the provisions of the Lokpal Bill suggested by the civil society and those put forward by the five union ministers in the Joint Drafting Committee.