Nitish non-committal on supporting Anna’s draft
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday questioned the Centre`s decision of sending two drafts of Lokpal Bill for consideration.
New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday questioned the Centre`s decision of sending two drafts of Lokpal Bill for consideration and demanded that the government be clear before seeking states` views on the proposed legislation.
Indicating his willingness to set up a Lokayukta in Bihar, Kumar also said he will discuss the matter within JD(U) and ally BJP and invite the Anna Hazare team to Patna on the issue.
"Let the government tell us what is its view. Why two drafts are being sent to states for views. First, the government should make its stand clear on what it wants. Then only we can comment on it," he told reporters here.
Asked about whether his party would attend the all party meeting, he said he would discuss with other party leaders on the issue.
"There was a discussion with Hazare and others on the issue of setting up Lokayukta in states. We had a discussion on the matter. I will have a discussion within my party (JD-U) and with allies on the matter. I will also invite Hazare and
others to Patna to discuss the issue," he said.
Kumar`s announcement came after activists Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia had a meeting with the Chief Minister at Bihar Niwas for drumming up support for their version of the Lokpal Bill.
Kumar said he will have detailed discussions within his party and with allies on the Lokpal Bill before taking a final stand on the issue.
Without going into details, he said the scope of the ombudsman should be comprehensive and the need was for a strong legislation to eradicate corruption.
Commending Kumar on the steps taken by him in checking corruption, Hazare said the Bihar Chief Minister has already initiated many things which the civil society`s Lokpal Bill envisages.
Kejriwal said Kumar told the team that he would "explore the possibility" of setting up a Lokayukta in the state and will invite them to Bihar for further discussions.
Bedi termed the meeting as "extremely positive" and said the Chief Minister is willing to engage civil society in a constructive manner.
She said Kumar told them that one cannot deal with civil society in a "controlled, laboratory-like" fashion like the UPA government was doing and he was for a purposeful engagement with them.
"This is for the first time some leader is coming in public saying he would take effective steps to set up a Lokayukta in the state. This is a wonderful initiative," Bedi said.