Team Anna, other activists differ over Lokpal (Lead)

August 20th, 2011 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Differences surfaced between Team Anna and other civil society activists over the Lokpal Bill Saturday, with Aruna Roy, member of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) saying that no one should be allowed to hijack democratic institutions.

Addressing media persons at the Press Club here, Roy said social activist Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast to get the civil society’s version of the Lokpal bill passed was wrong. She said Hazare was “ill advised and it is wrong to undermine democratic institutions”

However, Hazare associate Prashant Bhushan said that there were “little” differences between Team Anna and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), including Aruna Roy and Shekhar Singh, on the Lokpal Bill.

“These mainly relate to setting up of Lokayuktas in states and a separate grievance redressal mechanism,” he said.

Bhushan said while they want Lokpal to deal with central government employees only, the NCPRI wants a Lokayukta for the state government staff. Similarly, while Team Anna thinks an officer under the Lokpal can look into the complaints, the NCPRI wants a separate grievance redressal mechanism.

“There are a few other differences but they are minor ones,” said Bhushan.

Earlier, NCPRI member Aruna Roy, who is also in the NAC, said: “The prime minister’s office should come under the Lokpal bill. We have suggested some safeguards for this in our version of the bill.”

Stating that widespread consultations were required before the anti-graft law takes a final shape, Roy said the NAC had involved Anna supporters Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal in its consultations on the draft Lokpal Bill. The process was dropped when the government formed a joint draft committee to prepare the Lokpal bill.

Roy said they will submit their views before the parliamentary standing committee. “We will present our views before the standing committee. We hope the consultations will result in a good Lokpal bill. We will also agitate if we find any shortcomings in it,” said Roy.

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