Lokpal crisis: PM holds high-level meet

In a bid to find a way out of the logjam with Team Anna over the Lokpal issue, PM Manmohan Singh held a high-level meet of the Congress core group.

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2011, 00:09 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a bid to find a way out of the logjam with Team Anna over the Lokpal issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday night held consultations with Congress core group at his official residence.

The meeting was held at a time when Team Anna has made it clear that it would like to hold direct talks with the government and does not want any intermediaries.

The meeting was attended by senior Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma and Pawan Bansal. Ahmed Patel, political secretary to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also present in the meeting.

The Prime Minister cut short his Kolkata trip and returned to Delhi this evening.

The government is reported to have prepared an eleven point draft proposal and sent it to Hazare by a four member team led by spiritual leader Bhaiyyuji Maharaj who is mediating between the government and Team Anna. But they could not submit the draft to Hazare as he had retired for the day.

The government could go in for a discussion on the issue of Lokpal in Parliament on Tuesday. However, Parliament sources said no such formal proposal has come before the concerned authorities.
Sources said the PM could also make a statement on the Lokpal issue in Parliament tomorrow.

The government is reportedly concerned about Anna’s health.

Earlier in the day, PM Singh said the government is open to a "reasoned debate" on the Lokpal Bill and that the Parliamentary panel examining it can propose changes.

"We are open to a reasoned debate on all these issues," Singh said at the golden jubilee function of the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata.

Also, Gandhian Anna today said that he is ready for parleys but said that any negotiation on the issue will be held only with Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) or Rahul Gandhi.
He has asked the govt to withdraw its version of Lokpal Bill with immediate effect if it wants to break the logjam on the issue.

Team Anna today asserted that they had no intention to topple the government but defended Anna`s remarks that it should go if the bill is not passed by August 30.