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Govt under pressure to include PM in Lokpal

New Delhi: Government today came under intense pressure from political parties to include the office of Prime Minister, Group C and D employees and the anti-corruption wing of CBI within the purview of the Lokpal Bill. Ahead of the all-party meeting on the Lokpal bill convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here tomorrow, parties including BJP, the Left and BSP made their position clear on the issue which they said will pursue at tomorrow`s meeting.

The Prime Minister discussed the Bill with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and top Congress leaders and ministerial colleagues in the Core Group today ahead of the meeting with UPA allies in the evening. Government has given indications that it may not not be averse to the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of the ombudsman. It is expected to fine tune its strategy after the discussions with allies and at the all-party meeting.

The BJP Parliamentary Party met today under the chairmanship of L K Advani and decided to press for the inclusion of Prime Minister, lower bureaucracy and Citizens` Charter under Lokpal at the all-party meeting tomorrow. It also decided to move amendments in the Bill after consultation with other parties in case the government does not accept its proposals. "Tomorrow the government has called an all-party meeting to discuss the nitty gritty of the Lokpal Bill. Our members have already given a dissent note before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill.

"We will press for that in tomorrow`s meeting. If they don`t agree, then we will try and bring amendment in the Lokpal Bill after consultation with other political parties," BJP leader S S Ahluwalia told reporters after the meeting. Mayawati wants PM, CBI, Group C employees in Lokpal ambit In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati accused the Congress of being soft on corruption and demanded that the Prime Minister, CBI, Group C and D employees be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. She said her party would oppose the bill in its present form both at tomorrow`s meeting and in Parliament.

Citing the Commonwealth, 2G and Adarsh Society scams, she said that Congress` "lackadaisical policy indicates that it does not want to create a strong mechanism against corruption as maximum leaders and ministers of that party would be affected". CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters that the Lokpal to be strong and effective should include the Prime Minister, CBI`s anti-corruption wing and inclusion of lower bureaucracy within the purview of the Bill.

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