New Delhi: A meeting of UPA leaders on
the contentious Lokpal bill on Tuesday saw DMK voicing the demand
that the office of Prime Minister should come within its
The DMK demand was voiced by its Parliamentary Party
Leader TR Baalu even as the party chief M Karunanidhi, who
was in the capital, skipped the meeting.
Sources, however, said that DMK`s demand was nothing
new because it had always maintained the stand, but political
observers saw significance with the demand being raised in the
current circumstances of party leaders having trouble over the
2G spectrum scam.
DMK leaders Kanimozhi and A Raja, the former Telecom
Minister, are currently in Tihar jail in connection with the
The UPA government is opposed to bringing the Prime
Minister under the purview of Lokpal and virtually all allies
support it on this issue.
The Government thinks bringing the office of Prime
Minister in office will harm governance and could be a
security risk also. Today, the draft bill circulated by the
government also exempted the Prime Minister from the coverage
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President
Sonia Gandhi who is the UPA Chairperson and leaders of several
of the constituents of the ruling alliance met on a day when
the schedule for the Monsoon Session of the Parliament was
The meeting saw Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
briefing the leaders on the discussions with Anna Hazare team
on the Bill which were concluded today. Hazare had threatened
fast from August 16 alleging that the government has no
intention to draft a strong Lokpal Bill.
National Conference Chief and Union Minister Farooq
Abdullah said that the Prime Minister has already decided on
convening an all party meeting, indicating that it would be
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Praful
Patel of the NCP, Union Ministers E Ahmad of the IUML were
present at the meeting along with senior Congress leaders AK
Antony and Ahmad Patel.
The meeting was part of a consultation process with
the constituents of the ruling alliance over ticklish issues
such as bringing the post of the PM under the ambit of the
It has been convened at a time when the process of
drafting the Lokpal Bill will be completed by June 30.
Asked about his party`s stance on the Lokpal, Abdullah
said it would be known in Parliament.
Sources said that some of the constituents had
suggested the need for such a meeting for general coordination
among the allies in view of the Monsoon Session of Parliament