Working on Lokpal bill, Anna should be patient: Government

New Delhi : The government Friday said it will bring a strong Lokpal bill to parliament next week and asked Anna Hazare to have patience before he starts his indefinite fast Dec 27.

“Hazare should have patience. He has given his point of view. It is not the only view. It is for the government to consider all the views,” Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told reporters outside parliament.

“The government and prime minister (Manmohan Singh) are committed to bring the Lokpal Bill,” he said.

Narayansamy’s comments came a day after Hazare called for a nationwide ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign from Jan 1 and called for protests outside Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi’s homes if a strong Lokpal was not passed by parliament before the winter session ends Dec 22.

Sources said a special cabinet meeting is likely to discuss and approve the contentious bill Monday after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his Russia trip.

The sources said the government is finalising the amendments to the Lokpal bill, based on inputs received from the standing committee, various political parties and NGOs in order to give them wider acceptability, when the bill is expected to be brought in the Lok Sabha for consideration Dec 20.

Among the three main sticking points, the government has generally agreed to bring prime minister under the Lokpal with riders, and has to work out a mechanism to bring the 57 lakh strong lower bureaucracy and the Central Bureau of Investigation under the anti-graft ombudsman, the sources said.

Sources said the government might also consider the standing committee recommendation providing 50 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, backward castes and minorities in the search committee for the Lokpal.

The parliament may be extended for a day if required, said sources.

The opposition has already assured the government the house could sit up to late hours next week, in the wake of urgency to pass the Lokpal bill.

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