New Delhi: Wanting to douse the raging debate over whether or not Prime Minister and higher judiciary should be brought in the ambit of Lokpal, the government on Saturday decided to call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. The decision was taken at the Congress core committee meeting today morning at 7 Race Course Road.
In its first meeting on Friday evening, the Congress Core Committee had said it would take a decision after the Lokpal panel sent its recommendation.
So far, there is no consensus amongst political parties on whether or not to bring Prime Minister and the Chief Justice under the Lokpal umbrella. Most political parties are against the inclusion of Prime Minister’s post, as per reports.
The main opposition BJP was the first to demand an all-party meeting on the issue.
Last month, the Chairman of the Lokpal Joint Draft Committee Pranab Mukherjee had written to Chief Ministers of all states as well as the leaders of all political parties seeking their views on the six most important issues concerning the Lokpal Bill.
Speaking to a television news channel, Kapil Sibal said that prima facie the government was opposed to the inclusion of Prime Minister under Lokpal, but was open to the idea to cover him once he demits office.
Meanwhile Chidambaram had said, while addressing a press conference earlier, the government is not closed to the idea of PM being under the Lokpal, but the form of inclusion and provisions under which he is covered would need to be worked out.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has publicly stated that he is open to the idea of bringing his post under the Lokpal, the party has not yet reached a consensus on the issue.
The Congress core group had, on Friday night, met and discussed the issue threadbare.
The meeting was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister AK Antony and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president.
The meeting of the Core Group took place against the backdrop of the showdown between Anna Hazare camp and government representatives in the Joint Committee with the Gandhian insisting on bringing Prime Minister and higher judiciary in the ambit of the proposed Lokpal.