Putting aside their earlier differences, the teams of social activists Anna Hazare and Aruna Roy have broadly agreed to come together on the anti-graft lokpal bill ahead of Parliament’s winter session, which begins next week.
The development followed a series of meetings between Hazare-led India Against Corruption and Roy’s National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) to narrow down their differences on the bill. Both sides confirmed the development. “We had a few meetings with Team Anna members and there is convergence on certain issues relating to the lokpal,” said NCPRI founder Shekhar Singh.
Key Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said: “There is broad agreement on key issues concerning this important bill.”
The NCPRI and Team Anna will now jointly push for bringing the Prime Minister within the lokpal’s ambit. In addition, there is also agreement on opposition to various checks and balances proposed in the lokpal bill draft that is being finalised by a parliamentary panel.
“We will support India Against Corruption on issues where there is agreement between us,” Singh said.
The NCPRI had been critical of Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal bill, saying “no single institution should be made responsible for the mammoth task of eradicating corruption”. It had proposed a splitting of the proposed lokpal into five anti-corruption watchdogs and had opposed Team Anna’s proposal of bringing the judiciary within its ambit.
Team Anna also appears to have shown flexibility vis-à-vis its earlier position. They agreed to keep the judiciary out if their concerns were addressed by the judicial accountability bill. The NCPRI is at one with them on this.
Team Anna and the NCPRI are also on same page on the lacunae in the government grievance redress draft bill. Team Anna had originally wanted it to be part of the lokpal and now is not averse to a separate law for it. Bhushan and another Team Anna member, Arvind Kejriwal, are still working committee members of the NCPRI.