New Delhi: BJP-led NDA on Saturday said it would
attend the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh on Lokpal Bill but indicated it would respond
only to a draft legislation approved by the union cabinet and
introduced in Parliament.
While NDA allies JD(U) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) were
in favour of attending the all-party meeting, BJP was
initially in two minds on whether to participate or keep away.
Key NDA ally Shiv Sena has ruled out its participation in
tomorrow`s meeting due to some differences with civil rights
activist Anna Hazare who spoke against its chief Bal Thackeray
a few days ago.
Sources said finally a decision was taken that NDA should
participate in the meeting, listen to the government`s views
and make its opinion on the issue known to UPA as well as
However, the opposition has decided not to react to the
working paper and the two drafts of the bill sent by the
government to all parties. Instead, NDA will categorically
tell the government that it will react only to a Lokpal Bill
approved by the union cabinet and introduced in Parliament.
After the NDA meeting today, its Working Chairperson LK
Advani said "this is for the first time that the government
has invited the opposition for a meeting on the Lokpal Bill.
Initially, when the opposition parties discussed the
invitation, there was no clarity on whether we should attend.
Today, we decided that we should go there and expresss our
differences on the issue."
Advani insisted he would ask Shiv Sena to do a rethink on
its decision and was hopeful of succeeding.