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PM should show commitment on Lokpal Bill: Team Anna

Last updated on: June 29, 2011 16:34 IST

CPI(M) for inclusion of PM under Lokpal

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The Anna Hazare team on Wednesday met Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Prakash Karat in New Delhi to explain the civil society's position on the Lokpal Bill ahead of the all party meeting on the issue.

Civil society activists Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi called on Karat on Wednesday morning at CPI(M) headquarters to discuss the Lokpal Bill and to inform him about team Anna's views on the proposed legislation.

Bedi claimed that Karat was for an inclusive Lokpal by including the prime minister and the entire bureaucracy to cover the issue of corruption. "The CPI(M) is for inclusion of the prime minister and bureaucracy below joint secretary level. Karat was for an inclusive Lokpal which includes merger of anti corruption wing of Central Bureau of Investigation with Lokpal," she said.

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Image: CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat

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Team Anna to meet top BJP leaders to discuss Lokpal Bill

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The Hazare team's meeting with Karat came days after they met senior BJP leader L K Advani and CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan to drum up support for the bill. Hazare is expected to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday while a meeting, as suggested by Advani, with senior leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party will be held on July 1.

Advani had maintained that his party was very much in favour of an effective Lokpal but a more fruitful meeting could take place with civil society activists only when his colleagues- Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and party president Nitin Gadkari return to the capital.

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Image: A file photo of BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leader L K Advani

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'PM should take a stand like he did on nuclear deal'

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With Manmohan Singh personally favouring bringing the post of prime minister under the ambit of Lokpal, the Anna Hazare team suggested he should show his commitment in this regard as he did on the issue of nuclear deal with the United States.

"Well, the prime minister shall perhaps need to go by his personal call of conscience and take a stand like he did on nuclear power," Kiran Bedi, activist and Hazare team member said.

Her comments came as Singh remarked to top editors during an interaction that he has no hesitation in bringing himself under the purview of Lokpal, but many of his Cabinet colleagues feel that bringing the institution of prime minister under it will create instability.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

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'Team Anna asking for an open debate to narrow the disconnect'

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On Singh's remarks that government will reach out to civil society but no group can insist that their views are the last word, Bedi said they were for an open debate and had approached the government for it.

"Every view has to be a reasoned one. Which is why team Anna was constantly asking for an open debate to be called by the government members or come and listen to people to narrow the disconnect. People's perceptions are being widely published countrywide through reports, surveys and studies, which speak of the widespread malaise of corruption. These too cannot be ignored," she said.

Singh said he would like to be 'guided' by political parties on this issue. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and her Punjab counterpart Prakash Singh Badal had both expressed their views that the PM office should be kept out of the Lokpal's purview.


Image: Team Anna: (from right) Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh

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