Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that the legislation could now come up for approval in the Lower House on December 20, giving ample time for the Upper House to consider the measure. The current session adjourns sine die on December 22.
Bansal indicated that the Prime Minister could be brought under the ambit of the ombudsman with some safeguards. At the same time, he said his personal opinion was that PM should be kept out of the Lokpal's purview.
Consultations over the legislation would gain momentum from tomorrow with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holding talks with allies at a meeting of UPA leaders.
The meeting is expected to project a united face of the ruling alliance on the issue of Lokpal at a time when it was under attack from opposition parties and Anna Hazare for coming out with a "weak" bill. The consultations will be held a day ahead of an all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister on the ticklish issue.
Though some opposition parties have been demanding extending the Winter session, government managers are ruling out such a possibility at present. At Jantar Mantar yesterday, several political parties flayed the government and the Parliamentary Standing Committee for preparing a "weak" Lokpal draft. Some of them also appealed to Anna and his team to be flexible in their approach towards the bill.