Lokpal meet: Government to offer sops, but will opposition play ball?

Having got his United Progressive Alliance partners on board to back the Congress-led government's version of the vexed lokpal bill for a central anti-corruption watchdog, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an all-party meet at his residence to try and evolve a consensus with the opposition.

The prime minister met UPA allies on Tuesday night, including the new Congress member Ajit Singh, who has been given the civil aviation portfolio.

Home minister P Chidambaram said after the two-hour meeting that a broad consensus has emerged within the UPA. "The allies were present and they expressed their views on the lokpal bill. Ajit Singh was present for the first time. There is a broad consensus on the approach of the UPA II alliance," he said.

"Parties discussed the parliamentary standing committee report on the lokpal. The parties discussed the approach for the all-party meeting tomorrow. They will express their views in the meeting," he added.

Reports say the government is likely to bring the lower (group C) bureaucracy under the lokpal – a key demand of the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement which the government has been resisting so far. It may even include the prime minister's office in the lokpal's ambit, another key demand of 'team Anna'.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which joined Hazare's public debate on the lokpal bill in New Delhi on Sunday, has it will not accept anything that falls short of the above two clauses.