Team Anna members meet BJP leaders on Lokpal

New Delhi: Team Anna today met senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj here to lobby for the party`s support for inclusion of lower bureaucracy, judiciary and CBI under the purview of proposed Lokpal.

Activists Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia met Jaitley, Swaraj and S S Alhuwalia in Parliament House where they discussed for about an hour the developments in the Standing Committee on Lokpal. “We were not here to protest. We are holding meetings and will have more discussions,” Kejriwal told reporters after the meeting, which took place on the first day of Winter Session of Parliament.

Lokpal Bill is expected to be placed before the House for passing during this session. Anna Hazare has demanded that a strong bill be passed in this session itself or he will launch an agitation and campaign against Congress in the upcoming Assembly polls in five states next year. Bedi said it was useful to hear each other and was helpful in the current scenario.

Team Anna members argued for the inclusion of judiciary, lower bureaucracy, CBI and Citizen`s Charter under the ambit of Lokpal though reports suggested that there was a consensus in the Standing Committee to exclude these. The activists said that the Group C and D employees should be under the ambit of Lokpal, saying common man has to deal with these employees on a daily basis. “Their exclusion means 57 lakh employees will be out of the ambit of Lokpal. Common man`s plight will continue. The corruption in MNREGA, PDS and all will continue,” he said.

On the issue of keeping CBI out of Lokpal`s control, Team Anna said the Standing Committee proposal on the agency would reduce Lokpal to merely a post office — receive complaints, forward it to CBI, receive CBI`s report and present it before the court. They also argued for the inclusion of judiciary and citizen`s charter in the Lokpal Bill, saying the separate legislations prepared by the government were “weak and ineffective”.