The government and the civil society activists held their separate closed-door strategy sessions on the eve of the first meeting of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill on Saturday.
The five members of the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s team also declared their assets in the run-up to the meeting, which has been marred by a controversy related to a CD allegedly containing conversations between the panel’s co-chairman Shanti Bhushan with Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and his former aide Amar Singh.
The Centre, however, adopted a cautious approach on Saturday’s meeting, with law minister M Veerappa Moily expressing hope that the discussions will lead the way for a convergence of ideas on the proposed anti-corruption law.
“We’re going to the meeting with a positive mindset. From our side, there is no strategy or agenda and we have left it to the meeting,” Moily said.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, the chairman of the 10-member joint panel, held a meeting attended by the home minister P Chidambaram, telecom minister Kapil Sibal, water resources minister Salman Khurshid and Moily, all of whom are representing the government in the joint panel.
The ministers are learnt to have discussed the possible responses to queries likely to be raised by Hazare’s team.
Minister of state for personnel, V Narayanswami may also attend the meeting, since his department will be responsible for the finalisation and introduction of the bill. Sources indicated they did not expect “anything big” from the first meeting of the committee.