Civil society activist Anna Hazare on Friday held a meeting with BJP top brass to discuss his draft of the Lokpal Bill after which he said there was a consensus between his team and the party over formation of a strong and effective Lokpal.
Hazare, who held the one-and-a-half hour meeting at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Friday, said the talks were “good and fruitful.”
“In our discussions, the drafts of the Jan Lokpal Bill and the government draft were discussed. It was felt that there is a need for more debate for a strong Lokpal Bill. We have requested the BJP that when the Bill comes up in Parliament its leaders like Arun Jaitley, Advani and Sushma Swaraj should argue strongly for it and they have agreed,” Hazare said.He said “We have got a good guidance (from BJP) on how this Bill should be. The talks were good and fruitful.”
Hazare was accompanied by civil society activists Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. The BJP team comprised of L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, M.M. Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, S.S. Ahluwalia, Ananth Kumar, Ramlal and Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Both sides maintained that the issue of bringing the Prime Minister within the ambit of the Lokpal was not discussed.
The main concern voiced by the Opposition while agreeing on the need for a Lokpal was that persons with a clean image should be appointed.
The questions raised by BJP were also about Constitutional immunity to the MPs in Parliament as ensured in Article 105.
“We heard Anna Hazare and his team and gave them all respect. We sought some clarifications. We have assured them that we want an effective Lokpal. We will form an opinion on the issue after holding a party meeting and talking to the NDA,” Ravishankar Prasad, who is chief spokesperson of the BJP, said.
Hazare to meet Sonia on Saturday
Hazare is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday to explain the stand of the civil society on the issue of the Lokpal Bill ahead of an all-party meeting on it on Sunday.
Hazare has been given appointment at 1600 hrs on Saturday, sources at Gandhi’s residence said.
Hazare has already said he will try to persuade Gandhi to bring the office of the Prime Minister under the purview of the Lokpal Bill.
AICC had given indications on Thursday that a meeting between Gandhi and Hazare was expected soon despite differences between the party and the civil society on the issue of the bill.
Kiran Bedi, an Anna Hazare team member, said they were looking forward to the meeting with Gandhi on Saturday.“We will explain to her our key concerns on the Lokpal Bill issue,” she said.