Government to mollify Mamata on Lokpal Bill

Home Minister P Chidambaram sought to mollify Mamata Banerjee on the Lokpal issue but there was a feeling of unease in the party.

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2011, 22:02 PM IST

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday
sought to mollify Mamata Banerjee on the Lokpal issue but
there was a feeling of unease in the party over the repeated
embarrassments caused by the ally on major issues.

"There are differences among UPA allies. I would not go
so far as to say that there is a pattern in confrontational
behaviour(of Trinamool Congress)," Chidambaram told reporters
a day after the key UPA constituent broke ranks by giving
amendments to the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The Home Minister, who had tried to persuade Mamata at
the last minute against pressing the amendments, said the
government could still "refine" the clause on Lokayukta in the
bill to take care of her concerns.

Chidambaram suggested that Trinamool Congress was party
to the decision on inclusion of Lokayukta in the bill as the
matter was discussed in the Union Cabinet which has a
representative of Mamata`s party.

Besides, he pointed out that Trinamool had supported the
bill in the Lok Sabha. "But later they changed. We will have
to sit and discuss."

Another senior Congress leader, meanwhile, noted that it
was not the first time that the Trinamool Congress has caused
embarrassment to the UPA government.

Earlier, she had put the government in a spot on FDI in
retail and forced the government to drop an agreement with
Bangladesh on Teesta river water sharing during the Prime
Minister`s visit to Dhaka in September.

On the Lokpal issue, the Congress leader, on condition of
anonymity, said Chidambaram had read out the amended clause on
the Lokayukta to Mamata to win her support but failed as she
insisted on deletion of Part III of the bill.

PTI