Three sticking points with government: Team Anna

August 24th, 2011 - 1:49 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) There were three sticking points with the government including inclusion of lower bureaucracy in ambit of Lokpal, Team Hazare said Tuesday as they insisted on passage of anti-corruption legislation in the ongoing monsoon session of parliament.

Addressing the gathering at the Ramlila grounds after a meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other ministers, Arvind Kejriwal, an associate of Anna Hazare, said that the government will convey its viewpoint on three of their demands including an institution of Lokayukta in every state and a citizens’ charter for every government department.

Hazare is on a fast at Ramlila grounds which entered its eighth day Tuesday.

Kejriwal said that the citizens’ charter should specify responsibility of government officials along with period of delivery of service and penalise them with deduction of salary in case the work is not done in the stipulated period.

He also said the government had agreed to show to the civil society members the bill aimed at checking corruption in judiciary.

“There is no major objection on other issues. It is a major achievement,” Kejriwal said.

Prashant Bhushan, another associate of Hazare, said the government will tell Wednesday morning if the Lokpal bill can be passed in this session. Team Hazare members said that the session should be extended, if needed, to pass the bill.

He said the government did not show any objection to inclusion of prime minister in Lokpal’s ambit. The demand has been a major bone of contention between the two sides in the past.

He said anti-corruption investigations will be conducted by the Lokpal and not Central Bureau of Investigation.

Bhushan said Article 105 of Constitution says that MPs were free in the way they speak and vote in Parliament and added that if complaints of corruption against MPs were investigated, subject to the relevant constitutional provisions, they had no ojections.

“Even if it is subject to (Article) 105, the Lokpal will be able to investigate,” he said.

Bhushan said that government is likely to discuss demand for withdrawal of its Lokpal bill at a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA).

He said if the CCPA decides to withdraw the official bill and instead, introduces the Jan Lokpal bill in parliament, then they willl urge Hazare to end his fast.

“The whole country needs Anna. The country needs a moral leadership which only Anna can provide,” he said.

“If doctors now say that at least drip is necessary even if you (Hazare) do not want to end fast, we will appeal (to Hazare) to agree to what doctors say,” he said.

Kran Bedi, who was also a member of Team Hazare which took part in the talks, said that government had agreeed to conditions of civil society as only due to “meditation of Hazare”.

She said the government was also worried about Hazare’s health.

The first fromal talks of civil society members with the government since Hazare began his fast Aug 16 for a stong Lokpal bill lasted almost three hours.

Apart from Mukherjee, Law Minister Salman Khurshid represented the government at the talks. Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit was also present.

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