All-party meet likely on Lokpal Bill

All-party meet likely on Lokpal Bill

New Delhi: With the issue of bringing Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal remaining a ticklish affair, the government is expected to soon call an all-party meeting to seek views across the political spectrum.

This became clear on Saturday after a meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had with top party leaders favouring such parleys against the backdrop of widening differences between the government and the civil society representatives led by Anna Hazare on the issue.

Grappling with the issue and other sensitive matters like Telangana, the Congress Core Group headed by Gandhi met for on Saturday, the second meeting coming just after its two-hour long deliberations Friday night. Saturday’s meeting also discussed Telangana problem.

The Hazare camp is pitching for inclusion of Prime Minister as also higher judiciary in the proposed Lokpal Bill during meetings of the Joint Committee to draft the measure which will now be meeting on 20-21 June.

The government is prima facie opposed to the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal but was open to the idea of covering him once he demits office.

HRD minister Sibal on Saturday said, “within the government, we feel prima facie, the Prime Minister should not be covered (under the Lokpal). But at the same time we want to make sure that if he demits office, he should not be exonerated from prosecution."