Parliament to debate all Lokpal bills on Friday

A breakthrough seems to be in sight over the Lokpal logjam with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government ready to meet some of Anna Hazare’s demands. Sources say Parliament will discuss all the four version of the Lokpal bills on Friday.

Parliament will take up the Jan Lokpal Bill, prepared by Hazare and his associates, the Government’s Lokpal Bill along with the versions prepared by Aruna Roy and Lok Satta President Dr Jayaprakash Narayan.

Parliament will adopt a resolution that a strong Lokpal Bill will be passed and that the discussion on it will take place under Rule 184 which entails voting. However, the Jan Lokpal Bill not voted upon or passed by Parliament.

Hazare’s close associate and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi said that the 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader will call off his fast on Friday morning after the resolution is adopted.

The Government’s task was made easier after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came out in favour of discussion on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The response came less than an hour after Hazare set his conditions to end his 10-day-old fast while addressing his supporters at New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.

The 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader wants Parliament to debate inclusion of lower bureaucracy, setting up of state lokayuktas and introduction of citizen’s charter in every Government office.

Hazare made the demands in response to an appeal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Lok Sabha, who led MPs in asking him to end his fast. Singh had also reached out directly to Hazare and sent Union Science and Technology Minister and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to meet him.

Deshmukh met Hazare just a few hours after sources told CNN-IBN that the 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader wanted to negotiate directly with the Government and talk to a leader from Maharashtra.

With a breakthrough in sight, Deshmukh is likely to meet Hazare again on Thursday evening and explain the Government stand and the Prime Minister’s response.

Sources have told CNN-IBN that vigilance departments can control corruption in states while the Lokpal can have a supervisory role. But the Government is not keen on including lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal’s ambit.