Leaders of eight opposition parties who supported the key demands of Anna Hazare on the Lokpal bill during the public debate at the Jantar Mantar on Sunday, refused to be drawn into the specific clauses of the highly-publicised bill.
Soon after the leaders finished their speeches which continued for two hours, Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal wanted their views on key issues concerning the bill ranging from bringing the Prime Minister under the lokpal's ambit to the selection of the CBI director.
The first issue of making the PM accountable to Lokpal passed peacefully, with all the leaders nodding in consent. On the inclusion of Group C employees, Nikhil De of the Aruna Roy-led National Campaign for People's Right to Information said an appropriate forum was required to file complaints.
It was when Kejriwal was responding to a question from Mishra that CPI general secretary AB Bardhan said:"These are issues of debate which Parliament can decide."
Kejriwal tried to continue, saying he was only placing Team Anna's stand before the public. Barely had he spoken about the need to free the CBI from government's control, Bardhan's colleague D Raja said:"Law making is the work of Parliament. There is no final draft yet, only the standing committee has given its report."
Seeing the situation taking an awkward turn, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley took the mike. "Arvind your team has raised important issues. We have discussed the fundamental issues and have given our opinion on most of the sticking issues. We will do our best to make a strong Lokpal bill. But details on specific issues should be left to Parliament ...," Jaitley said.
De said in case Team Anna wanted a discussion on specific issues, they should have told the speakers earlier. "Now an impression will be created that we are agreeing with you on all these issues," he said.