Will be on Lokpal committee with open mind: Khurshid

Union cabinet minister Salman Khurshid says the government representatives will attend the scheduled April 16 meeting of the panel with an "open heart and mind".

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 14:35 PM IST

New Delhi: Union cabinet minister Salman Khurshid, a member of the committee to draft a stringent anti-graft Lokpal Bill, says the government representatives will attend the scheduled April 16 meeting of the panel with an "open heart and mind".

"We will go to the meeting with open heart and mind on April 16 so that we arrive at a consensus with the civil society (representatives)," Khurshid, the minister for water resources and minority affairs, told reporters here.

Veteran social reformer Anna Hazare went on a fast-unto-death last week demanding a stringent anti-graft bill and that civil society members be included in the committee that will draft the measure. He broke the 97-hour fast Saturday after the government acceded to his demands.

On the remarks by BJP leader LK Advani that Anna Hazare`s campaign had done a disservice to democracy, Khurshid said: "Anyone can make gestures. Actually even before committee has met, lines have been drawn..... we should go with an open mind.

The civil society members have drawn up an alternative bill -- called the Jan Lokpal Bill -- with more stringent anti-corruption measures than the government`s version.

"We know about the civil society draft and each of us know about the sticking points in the drafts. So what should become part of the draft has to be looked at," he added.

The 10-member drafting committee comprising five cabinet ministers and five civil society members.

The cabinet ministers on the committee are Pranab Mukherjee (finance), P. Chidambaram(home), Veerappa Moily (law) and Kapil Sibal (human resource development), besides Khurshid.

The civil society members are Anna Hazare, former law minister Shanti Bhushan, his son and advocate Prashant Bhushan, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and retired Supreme Court judge N. Santosh Hegde.

IANS