'Scope for give and take' on Lokpal issue, says PM news
20 August 2011
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said there was a "lot of scope for give and take" on the Lokpal bill, and that the government was open to "discussion and dialogue" on the issue.
 
Marking something of a climbdown from his earlier stand that the kind of sweeping bill demanded by Anna Hazare and his supporters was entirely unfeasible, Singh said he hoped to enlist the cooperation of "all thinking segments of Indian public opinion to ensure that the end product is a strong and effective Lokpal (anti-corruption watchdog), which all sections of our community want".
 
Speaking to the media at the conclusion of a full meeting of the Planning Commission at his residence to approve the approach paper of the 12th Five Year Plan, Singh said the government has presented a Lokpal bill to Parliament, as demanded by all political parties.
 
"They (the opposition parties) said, "we cannot give you our viewpoint unless and until you come out with a draft". We have fulfilled that obligation.
 
"But we are open to discussion and dialogue. We would like a broad national consensus to emerge. We are all in favour of a strong and effective Lokpal," he said.
 
Just a couple of days ago, he had appeared to take a more truculent stand, saying that "the path he has chosen to impose his draft of a bill upon Parliament is totally misconceived and fraught with grave consequences for our parliamentary democracy." The nationwide support for Hazare's movement seems to have forced the Congress to re-think its hitherto bumbling strategy on the issue.(See: PM dubs Hazare's anti-graft protest 'undemocratic') 
 
On Anna Hazare's demand that his team's version of the bill, the 'Jan Lokpal bill', should be passed in Parliament by 30 August, the prime minister said, "Well, clearly I think there are difficulties. It is a logic of the legislative process."
 
He said certain stages have to be crossed; but "I would not like to say or controvert anything else that has been said by somebody else".
 
Singh said he hoped that the people would appreciate that there is a dynamic of the legislative process, which often takes time. "But we must all work together to push forward the case for a strong, effective Lokpal; and whatever obstacles that come in the way should be removed. There should be a commitment which all political segments must honour and work towards," he said.




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'Scope for give and take' on Lokpal issue, says PM