Govt wants Lokpal Bill to come up in RS after consensus

New Delhi: The government today said it wants the Lokpal Bill to come in the Rajya Sabha after evolving consensus among the political parties.

"We would like the Bill to come to the Rajya Sabjha only after there is a consensus. If the Bill is brought and then consensus is sought in the House, it would lead to certain problems," Law Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters outside Parliament House. He was reacting to a question whether the Lokpal Bill will taken up in the ongoing session.

Acccording to sources, the government may drop the clause on setting up of a Lokayukta in the states in the Lokpal Bill to bring some opposition parties as also allies like Trinamool Congress on board. The talk is that heeding to demands from opposition parties and allies, the clause on setting up a Lokayukta in the states may be removed before it comes up before the Rajya Sabha.

A minister, however, said yesterday that discussions were still on with the political parties concerned to thrash out the differences. The sources said there are three-four sticking points in the much-debated Bill, which seeks to create an anti- corruption watchdog, and the government is trying to build a consensus on these issues.

On Anna Hazare`s demand for appointing Lokayukta in states, Khurshid said, "While Anna Hazare says that the Lokayukta should be there in the states, his supporters in Delhi are accusing the government of trying to keep it out of Lokpal Bill."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had held an all-party meeting on March 23 to resolve the issues regarding the Bill. Though the meeting failed to evolve a consensus, it was decided that the parties will continue negotiations on the Bill.

The Bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha in the Winter Session last year. The House was adjourned sine die amid high drama with the opposition accusing the government of running away from a vote because it was in a minority.

The Bill, which was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha in the same session, was brought in the Upper House on the last day of the Winter session and key UPA constituent Trinamool Congress refused to bail out the government there.

Even in the all-party meeting this year, opposition parties and key allies like Trinamool Congress and DMK had opposed the provision for setting up Lokayuktas in states along with Lokpal and wanted states should be free to decide on it.