Why shouldn`t Lokpal cover PM, asks Kejriwal

Civil society activist Arvind Kejriwal Monday sought to know why government leaders were so opposed to bringing the prime minister under the Lokpal`s purview.

New Delhi: Civil society activist Arvind Kejriwal Monday sought to know why government leaders were so opposed to bringing the prime minister under the Lokpal`s purview.

Since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had himself stated that he has no objection to being covered by the proposed Lokpal bill, why were his ministers against this, Kejriwal asked at a news conference.

"We are unable to understand this," he said. "If you take the PM out of the purview of any investigation, that will be very unfortunate."

Kejriwal, member of the joint drafting panel of the Lokpal bill, dismissed suggestions that if the prime minister was sought to be covered by the Lokpal, then any investigation would end up crippling the government.

"The PM himself said once that I have no problems...Is there some kind of disconnect (then)?"

He said even Pranab Mukherjee had advocated the inclusion of the prime minister in a Lokpal bill when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled the country.

The point was reiterated, he added, even as late as January this year. "What has happened? This is completely mysterious...We don`t understand."

Activist Prashant Bhushan, also part of the bill drafting panel, said: "Why is the PM scared on coming in the ambit of the bill if he is clean and honest. Democracy cannot be taken lightly thinking that people have elected you for the next five years.

The comments came a day after Finance Minister and Congress leader Mukherjee accused civil society activists of putting undue pressure on the government with their protest campaigns.

Congress general Digvijay Singh fuelled the debate Sunday by saying that not only the prime minister but also the judiciary, NGOs and corporate houses should be brought under the Lokpal`s purview.

IANS

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