Govt to bend to civil society demands; PM under bill ambit?

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Lokpal Panel
New Delhi, Jun 21: After a ray of light emerged in the dark tunnel of the LokPal draft meeting between the government and Anna Hazare's team on Monday, issues seem to be clearing off faster than expected. The talks were in a deadlock situation with both parties in stand-off in the topic of whether to include the Prime Minister under the LokPal's purview.

According to reports by CNN-IBN, who claim to have a copy of the government draft of the proposed LokPal bill, states the government's readiness to include the PM under the LokPal ambit with some limitations. It also added that the complaints against the PM will only be taken up after he emits office. This contentious clause has been added after due consultation with PM Manmohan Singh.

The Civil Society was rooting for the PM to face charges and prosecution like everybody else. The next govt-Anna team meet is scheduled to be held on Tuesday at 4:30pm. Meanwhile, the all-party meet initiated by the government is to be held in the first week of July.

The Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee meeting had concluded in an inconclusive way with both parties commenting that differences existed with consensus reached in only 11 of the total 40 points. With representatives from both teams stating contrary facts, the meeting did not seem to end in a common platform.

Also plans are in place to present both versions of the Bill, one of the government and the other one from the Anna Hazare side that will later be presented in the Cabinet.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has been quoted as saying, “There are issues that we don't agree with today and which we didn't agree with earlier. Keeping that aside, we have agreed on other issues." But civil society member Arvind Kejriwal after the meeting on Monday said, “There is a difference of opinion on selection and removal of the Lokpal. The government wants to control the selection and fairness of the Lokpal."

Will the UPA finally decide to bend the rules and be flexible to the public demand for a fair and corruption-free government, only time will tell. But it has become more and more evident that the Civil society does not intend to remain silent and become mute spectators to the gross rottenness in the administration and the system in general.

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