We are considering right to reject: PM to Anna

Declaring government`s commitment to a strong Lokpal, PM Manmohan Singh said Anna Hazare`s demand for `Right to Reject` needs political consensus.

New Delhi: Declaring government`s commitment
to a strong Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said
Anna Hazare`s demand for `Right to Reject` provision in
electoral law needs political consensus.

Even as Hazare came out against the Congress in the Hisar
Lok Sabha bypoll, the Gandhian and the Prime Minister
exchanged letters on Lokpal and measures to fight corruption
and other issues like electoral and judicial reforms in the
last 20 days.
"As you are aware, we are committed to enacting a strong
Lokpal law and we hope that we will succeed in this in the
near future. However, our government is working on a broad
agenda to fight corruption and bring in administrative
reforms," Singh said in a letter to Hazare written yesterday.

He was replying to Hazare`s letter of September 21 in
which he had flagged several issues including Lokpal,
electoral reforms and strengthening of grass roots

"In this several legal, administrative and technical
aspects will be included. Establishment of the Lokpal is part
of this broad agenda," Singh said.

Referring to Hazare`s demand for including the provision
of right to reject candidates through the option of `none of
the above` in the voting system, saying in a democratic
society a political consensus was necessary on such issues.
"Our government is actively considering various proposals
related to electoral reforms. Among the proposals being
considered is the `right to reject` which you have mentioned.

"In a democratic society, a political consensus is
necessary on some issues. We want to discuss several proposals
on electoral reforms with all political parties and act on
proposals on which there is broad agreement," Singh said.
Hazare had demanded in another letter dated September
23, that the Prime Minister should write to Chief Ministers of
all Congress-ruled states to pass a Bill for establishment of
a Lokayukta.

Hazare maintains that the government had promised him
during his fast at Ramlila grounds that Lokayuktas would be
set-up in states.

"You had assured that order will be issued to
Congress-ruled states for setting up Lokayuktas. According to
the assurance, written orders should be sent to Chief
Ministers of all Congress-ruled states," Hazare had said.

In his reply dated October 7, Singh drew Hazare`s
attention to the in-principal agreement in Parliament on
August 27 on establishment of Lokayukta in states.

"This consensus in Parliament has also been sent to the
Standing Committee so that it can consider them during their
deliberations. I hope you will agree with me that before going
ahead we should first let Parliament complete the process of
enacting a Lokpal law," Singh said.


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