Govt in bind, admits PM

The Prime Minister indicated that the government does not favour withdrawal of the Lokpal Bill already introduced by it in Parliament and being considered by a Standing Committee.

New Delhi: Admitting that the government was
in a "bind" from which it has to come out, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said tonight that "practical and pragmatic"
solutions have to be found to the Lokpal issue.

However, the Prime Minister indicated that the government
does not favour withdrawal of the Lokpal Bill already
introduced by it in Parliament and being considered by a
Standing Committee.

Singh shook his head to indicate this when asked whether
the government would accept the demand of major opposition
parties for withdrawal of the government Bill and its
replacement by a fresh Bill incorporating clauses from drafts
from various quarters.

Singh said Hazare should listen to the unanimous
sentiment of all parties and end his fast.

"All-party meeting has appealed that Hazare should end
his fast. We hope he will listen to the unanimous sentiment of
all parties," the Prime Minister said interacting with
reporters at an Iftaar organised at his residence.

On the deadline set by Team Anna on passage of the
Janlokpal Bill in Parliament, Singh said it was their
suggestion. "It does not mean we accept everything".

He said there was scope for give and take on the Lokpal
issue.

"I am hopeful but it will require efforts of everybody.
Everybody will have to pool in their wisdom," he said adding
a "practical and pragmatic solution has to be found".

Asked whether the situation could go out of hand, Singh
said "our effort is to ensure that tempers do not go out of
control."

On inclusion of the office of the Prime Minister under
the ambit of the Lokpal, he said "I have always been in favour
of inclusion of PM in Lokpal but my experienced colleagues
say it will not be desirable."

"If winter is here can spring be far behind"? was Singh`s
reply to a question on how hopeful he was to find a solution
to the Lokpal issue.

PTI

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