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Lokpal to come up before 2014 general elections: Khurshid

PTI  New Delhi, August 05, 2012
First Published: 17:03 IST(5/8/2012) | Last Updated: 17:14 IST(5/8/2012)

Against the backdrop of indefinite fast by Anna Hazare coming to an end, law minister Salman Khurshid has said the government is "much better equipped" now to deal with such situations even as he underlined that the Lokpal will be created before the 2014 elections.

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He also indicated that had the contents of a letter sent by the Prime Minister's office to Hazare not come to the notice of Team Anna members, something could have come of his June 23 "private meeting" with the activist.

"It's not for me to give an assessment because my Prime Minister must do so. But if you are asking me about my own assessment, my own feelings, I think yes, absolutely. In fact, to say it will be long before the Parliament elections of 2014. But I can't give you a date. I can't give a deadline," Khurshid told Karan Thapar in 'Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN.

The law minister was responding to a query on whether he could assure that Lokpal will be created by Parliament before the 2014 polls.

Asked whether the government was 'wiser' by its experience, Khurshid said "we are much better equipped today...we learn everyday from everything we do and I think learning is a good thing...."

Referring to his "private meeting" with Hazare held near Pune that was arranged by mutual friends, he said the activist wanted three things: inclusion of Group A, B, C, D officials under Lokpal, creation of Lokayukta in the states and a Citizen's charter.

He said when he explained that government has already done that, Hazare wanted the government to put it on record in a letter.

Khurshid said when minister of state in PMO V Narayanawamy did that, the letter was sent to Hazare at India Against Corruption's address.

"I think they should have in their decency forwarded it to Anna Hazare. Instead, they opened it," he said.

Khurshid agreed to suggestions that Team Anna came to know about the contents of the letter when Hazare did not want it to know.

"But I have not been able to understand why something that was desired, simply that being discovered by somebody else become undesirable," he said.

On the talks bearing no results, he said "fate overtook us, or the lack of faith."

Khurshid said while Hazare gave him no assurance, the anti-graft crusader did "inform" him that he would not undertake the July 25 or August 9 fast.

Asked whether Hazare has gone back on his words, he said, "I don't know. Apparently he has."

Khurshid said he had assumed that Hazare will share the details of the meeting with his colleagues. The minister said he had informed his colleagues and the letter by Narayanasamy was a result of that.

Refusing to drawn in a debate on government's handling of Team Anna's agitation last year, he said the situation was not mishandled.

"I don't accept that because in retrospect and hind site, you can say something about anything you have done. The decision has to be taken then and there and I think margins of error have to be build in any decision," he said.


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