Govt to decide on bringing PM within lokpal ambit: Congress | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt to decide on bringing PM within lokpal ambit: Congress

delhi Updated: Jun 17, 2011 22:19 IST

Congress top brass on Friday left the contentious issue of bringing Prime Minister within the ambit of lokpal to the government to decide.

Party president Sonia Gandhi, who returned from a tour abroad, is learnt to have expressed concern over controversies surrounding the lokpal issue as also the fresh turmoil over Telangana issue.

The meeting of the Congress core group chaired by Gandhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side saw threadbare discussion on the lokpal issue.

The meeting of the core group took place against the backdrop of the showdown between Anna Hazare camp and government representatives in the Joint Committee with the Gandhian insisting on bringing Prime Minister and higher judiciary under the ambit of the proposed lokpal.

Top sources in the party said the Joint Drafting Committee and the Cabinet will have to take a call on the issue first.

"Let the draft come first. We will give our opinion then," a top leader in the party said.

AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said separately that the party has left it to the government to decide on the issue as it has been doing on several issues since the party came to power leading a coalition at the Centre.

The core group meeting also discussed how to deal with the fresh controversy over the Telangana issue in wake of the Congress MPs, MLAs and ministers from the region threatening to quit if the formation of separate Telangana was not announced in the near future.

In the past one week, the leaders from Telangana have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel.

Andhra Pradesh is the only major state where Congress is in power on its own.

Congress leaders have been maintaining in private that bringing Prime Minister under the ambit of lokpal is fraught with serious consequences and a decision in this regard needed to be taken keeping in mind a long term view.

Senior party leader Digvijay Singh had a few days back favoured bringing Prime Minister under the ambit of lokpal but within a day made a quick U-turn noting that he would go by whatever the party decides.

At a press conference, home minister P Chidambaram had on Thursday said, "There are many possible answers. It is not a binary choice of yes or no." He was asked about the civil society members's demand for bringing Prime Minister under lokpal's ambit.

He said the Prime Minister can be included or kept out. A third suggestion was that the could be brought in with specially carved exceptions or he could be brought within the ambit after he demits office.

A top party leader, however, feigned ignorance when asked whether Prime Minister has told the party that he has no problem with the demand of civil society to bring Prime Minister under the ambit of lokpal.