The series of scams during the UPA 2 tenure provided space for civil society to raise demands and put the government on the defensive, said union minister and lokpal bill drafting committee member Salman Khurshid.
"If there were no 2G and CWG scams, we could have treated the matter differently," Khurshid said in an interactive session with senior HT editors on Friday.
Admitting the difficulty the government faced while handling the Anna Hazare and Ramdev fasts, the minister said the government regained its composure later with the group of ministers on media taking a tough stand.
"They want a lokpal representative present everywhere. They want to run a parallel government. We did not expect them to be so unreasonable. Their approach puts a serious question on democracy," he said, summing up the demands put forward by Hazare’s team.
Meanwhile, the Congress core committee, which includes PM Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, met on Friday and left it to the joint panel of ministers and civil society representatives to thrash out the contentious issues.
If differences persist, the panel is likely to forward both versions of the contentious portions of the bill to the cabinet for a decision. Then, parties and Parliament will have a final say on any legislation.
Pranab Mukherjee briefed the core group on the civil society members’ demand that the Prime Minister and higher judiciary be covered in the bill, which Singh is reportedly not averse to.
In his interactions at the HT office, Khurshid accused the activists of confusing between corruption and misadministration.
"The way a law is made can be opposed, but there are ways to oppose that. And we are making those distinctions,” Khurshid said, reiterating that the government bill — tighter, tougher — would be ready by June 30.
With no consensus reached with the government side, led by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Hazare declared on Thursday that “if the lokpal is not according to the aspirations”, he would sit on another round of fast from August 16.