A day after talks between the government and Anna Hazare’s team on the anti-graft lokpal bill was on the brink of a breakdown, he Centre said there was no consensus on the contentious issues among civil society groups and experts.
Seeking to bring about a consensus, the government widened the debate by seeking the views of chief ministers and leaders of political parties.
“There is no unanimity on the issues either among civil society members or those who have written or spoken on them. So, we need to consult political parties and state governments,” home minister P Chidambaram told mediapersons on Tuesday.
Chidambaram and telecom minister Kapil Sibal — both members of the drafting committee — said the government was committed to introducing the legislation in Parliament’s monsoon session next month.
Chidambaram said finance minister and chairman of the drafting committee Pranab Mukherjee had written to the CMs and political leaders for their views on the six contentious issues on which the government and Hazare’s team disagree.
Among other demands opposed by the government, Hazare’s team wants the lokpal to be empowered to probe corruption charges against the Prime Minister and judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.
On the statement issued by the Hazare-led India Against Corruption, saying it suspected the government’s intentions, Sibal said, “Nobody should suspect the government’s motives.”
Asked about the panel’s meeting on Monday, Chidambaram said, “Issues identified earlier as contentious were discussed, and in our view, the discussion was very constructive.”