Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today set the ball rolling in the Lok Sabha for a discussion on the various lokpal bills. However, it is the version drafted by Anna Hazare's team that is expected to dominate the discussions.
In his introductory remarks, Mukherjee began by recounting the chain of events since Anna Hazare first went on fast over the issue at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on 9 April.
He further said, "The government followed established procedures in introducing a lokpal bill in Parliament. Whatever we do should be within the Constitution. We are at a crossroad; let us try to find solution within the constitutional framework without violating the supremacy of Parliament."
Reiterating his and the government's concern over the health of Anna Hazare, whose public fast entered the 12th day today, Mukherjee requested him to his the fast.
He also reiterated the view of both the government and the opposition that civil society cannot force laws down the throat of Parliament.
He said, ''We wrote to all parties to collect their views; the Samajwadi Party (led by Mulayam Singh Yadav) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (led by UP chief minister Mayawati) did not respond.
The Bharatiya Janata Party said civil society cannot be decision makers. After an all-party meeting, all parties said that the supremacy of Parliament must be maintained, institutions of democracy cannot be undermined; laws have to be made by parliamentarians.''