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UPA leaders meet in capital; discuss Lokpal

A meeting of UPA leaders was held here tonight in an apparent show of unity of the ruling alliance in the wake of issues like the Lokpal Bill.

New Delhi: A meeting of UPA leaders was
held here tonight in an apparent show of unity of the ruling
alliance in the wake of issues like the Lokpal Bill.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President
Sonia Gandhi who is the UPA Chairperson and leaders of several
of the constituents of the ruling alliance met on a day when
the schedule for the Monsoon Session of the Parliament was
The meeting saw Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
briefing the leaders on the discussions with Anna Hazare team
on the Lokpal Bill which were concluded today. Hazare had
threatened fast from August 16 alleging that the government
has no intention to draft a strong Lokpal Bill.

Though DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was in the Capital,
he did not attend the meeting and instead sent Parliamentary
Party leader T R Balu to represent the party at the high level

Karunanidhi is sulking since his daughter Kanimozhi
has been jailed in the 2G spectrum scam and today went to the
Tihar Jail for meeting her, his second visit there in the past
one month.

Congress Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan talking to
reporters separately dismissed suggestions that the arrest of
Kanimozhi, who has been denied bail by the Supreme Court only
yesterday, has had an adverse impact on the party`s ties with
the DMK.
National Conference Chief and Union Minister Farooq
Abdullah said that the Prime Minister has already decided on
convening an all party meeting, indicating that it would be
held soon.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Praful
Patel of the NCP, Union Ministers E Ahmad of the IUML were
present at the meeting along with senior Congress leaders A K
Antony and Ahmad Patel.

The meeting was part of a consultation process with
the constituents of the ruling alliance over ticklish issues
such as bringing the post of the PM under the ambit of the
anti-corruption watchdog.

It has been convened at a time when the process of
drafting the Lokpal Bill will be completed by June 30.

There has been divergence of views among UPA allies
on the issue. While Congress and NCP have expressed
opposition, DMK is reported to be favouring it.

Asked about his party`s stance on the Lokpal, Abdullah
said it would be known in Parliament.

Sources said that some of the constituents had
suggested the need for such a meeting for general coordination
among the allies in view of the Monsoon Session of Parliament
fast approaching.


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