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No consensus yet on Lokpal Bill: Yechury

New Delhi, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar.23 (ANI): Even as the government on Friday stepped up efforts to iron out differences on contentious aspects of the Lokpal Bill, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting leaders of various parties, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said after the talks that a consensus on the issue was yet to be reached.

He also reveled to media that the actual wording of the proposed Lokpal Bill would be worked on during the intervening period of the Budget Session of Parliament, and added that the draft legislation could be taken up during the second half of the session.

"The government along with major political parties will come out with a consensus. The government is committed to bring the Bill in this session. ...The actual wording of the Lokpal Bill will be worked out during the intervening period the Budget Session," Yechury said.

He said the Bill cannot come up during the first half of the current session ending March 30, as the budget has to be passed before the end of the current financial year.

"The Bill will be taken up in the second half. This week it cannot come up in this session as the budget has to be passed," said Yechury.

There was consensus in the meeting on having Lokayuktas in states, but the prerogative for their appointment will be that of the state, he said.

UPA's allies Trinamool Congress and DMK also raised the issue that the Centre should not interfere with the powers of the states for having Lokayuktas.

Trinamool leader Sukhendu Roy said, "We opposed the inclusion of Lokayukta appointment in the Lokpal Bill in its present form as it will harm the federal structure."

Yechury and Roy were speaking after an all-party meet of Rajya Sabha members convened by the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi.

Samajwadi Party general secretary Mohan Singh told reporters that the government will refer the opposition's three main demands on Lokpal issue to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

These demands were delinking of Lokayuktas from Lokpal Bill, making appointment process of the Lokpal more democratic and inclusive and creation of an independent probe agency under Lokpal and bringing superintendence of corruption cases probed by the CBI under the Lokpal.

However, Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD) and Ramvilas Paswan (LJP) opposed the creation of a Lokpal. On the issue of bringing the CBI under the Lokpal's ambit, Yechury said, all issues related with corruption should be under the Lokpal.

"If the CBI does such investigations, then the CBI's anti-corruption wing will be under the control and superintendence of the Lokpal," he said.

Yechury also called for inclusion of corporates and NGOs which derive contracts from the government under the purview of Lokpal. (ANI)

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