24 aug 2011
No political consensus on Lokpal bill; Anna supporters furious
New Delhi: An all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday in search of a solution to the crisis triggered by Anna Hazare’s anti-graft fast ended with an appeal to the rights activist to end his protest but failed to evolve any political consensus on the contentious Lokpal bill, a leader who attended the meeting said.
The meeting resolved to jointly appeal to Hazare to break his fast and the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by Team Anna was been sent to the parliamentary standing committee, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayansamy said.
Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi told reporters after the meeting that there was no unanimity yet on the Lokpal bill.
However, there was an unanimous appeal from all parties to Anna Hazare to call off his fast.
The government is learnt to have said at the meeting, held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence, that the withdrawal of the Lokpal bill was impossible.
In his opening remarks, the prime minister said the government was for a strong, independent Lokpal.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the government’s chief mediator, introduced the new draft at the meeting, which contained several points from the discussion between Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Team Anna members Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi.
Hazare, 74, has refused to give up his fast for a stronger Lokpal bill despite his deteriorating health