Breakthrough eludes govt-civil society on Lokpal

PM Manmohan Singh candidly admitted that the government was in a bind from and has to come out with practical solutions.

Last Updated: Aug 24, 2011, 22:10 PM IST

New Delhi: A breakthrough in the deadlock over Lokpal continued to elude Team Anna and government despite hard negotiations with differences persisting over seven issues, including bringing the Prime Minister under its ambit.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh On Wednesday night candidly admitted that the government was in a "bind" from, which it has to come out with "practical and pragmatic" solutions.

Singh`s comments came after Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid and three key members of Anna Hazare`s team negotiated over Janlokpal Bill and an all-party meeting, where both the Left parties and BJP urged the government to withdraw its Lokpal bill now now before a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Even as the Prime Minister made these remarks at an Iftar party hosted by him at his residence, the two sides were getting ready for another round of negotiations later tonight at, which the government team would be led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and civil society represented by Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi.

The all-party meeting made an appeal to Hazare, whose fast at Ramlila Grounds entered the ninth day today, to call it off. But Hazare maintained that he would not do so.

Sources present at the all-party meeting said, that out of 40 points presented by the civil society in its Janlokpal bill, there was complete agreement on 26, broad agreement on seven and persisting differences on the remaining seven.

The seven points on, which the differences remain include a single law providing for Lokayuktas in states, bringing Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs in Parliament in the ambit of Lokpal, coverage of all civil servants, definition of Lokpal and selection process of Lokpal.