New Delhi: Time seems to be running out for the Lokpal Bill. With less than a week to go before the winter session of Parliament wraps up, the deadlock over the Lokpal Bill continues. On Wednesday, the all-party meeting failed to reach a consensus as major political parties stuck to their stands.
After three hours of discussion on Wednesday there was no clarity whether the Lokpal Bill will match the expectations of Team Anna and the Opposition.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "There is no commitment by the government on whether they will bring the Lokpal Bill in this session or not. We want the Bill to be brought in this session itself."
The bill wasn't passed despite the Prime Minister's opening statement that the bill will be brought in the winter session.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "I am personally keen that the momentous legislation should be passed on the basis of consensus among all parties as far as possible and that this should not be subjected to party politics in any way."
But consensus eluded the all-party meet. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Parliament MP Ram Vilas Paswan opposed inclusion of the Prime Minister, while others like the Left Front and the BJP wanted the Prime Minister in with safeguards.
Shiv Sena questioned the need for Lokpal itself. Most parties wanted appointment of CBI director to be done by an independent panel. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said that the Lokpal should have its independent investigative agency.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley and Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav's visit to Jantar Mantar in support of Anna Hazare was also criticised at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Team Anna is showing no sign of making things easy for the government even though there is a possibility of Anna shifting his protest to Mumbai.
Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said, "There will a Jan Sabha on December 27 either in the form of an agitation or a celebration. We have applied to book Mumbai's Azad Maidan keeping into consideration Delhi's weather."
The government can take heart from the fact that some MPs like Sharad Yadav said that the government should not be in a hurry to pass the Lokpal Bill.