PM convenes all-party meeting on Lokpal on Wednesday

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Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Dec 11: With the threat of Anna Hazare's agitation looming large, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an all-party meeting next week to evolve a broad consensus on the Lokpal Bill and ensure its passage during the current session of Parliament that ends on December 22.

Before the all party meeting, the UPA allies will hold confabulations among themselves on December 13 to devise a common strategy and speak in one voice in Parliament.

Sources said the Union Cabinet will also meet on Tuesday during which it is expected to consider the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice on the Lokpal Bill.

Singh has invited all political parties to a meeting at his residence on December 14 to discuss the Lokpal issue and build a broad consensus on the Bill so that it can be passed without much hindrance during the on-going winter session.

Sources have indicated that the Lokpal Bill is likely to be passed by the Cabinet after incorporating some of the suggestions made by the Parliamentary panel.

The Lokpal Bill, with amendments, is likely to be introduced in Parliament on December 19.

The Standing Committee report on the Bill, which was presented in both Houses of Parliament yesterday, has earned the ire of the opposition parties and Team Anna for deviating from several issues on which a broad agreement had been reached earlier.

The opposition and Team Anna want that a Citizens' Charter and lower bureaucracy be put under the Lokpal. They also want the Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal but exempt him on matters related to public order and national security.

PTI

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