NEW DELHI: In a fresh bid to end the deadlock over Lokpal Bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the proposed legislation which could not be passed on the last day of the winter session in Rajya Sabha amid pandemonium.
The meeting will be held at Singh's residence at noon on Friday. The Parliament will not meet on that day due to festivals like Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. Government is keen on passing the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha even as the opposition and social activist Anna Hazare have renewed pressure on the issue.
Hazare has said he will go on a fast from March 25 if the Bill is not passed while BJP has said in the Upper House that the debate and amendments to the Bill should be taken up from where they were left on the night of December 29 when the House was adjourned amid a din.
Lok Sabha has already passed the Bill. The status of the Bill in Rajya Sabha is still unclear. Congress has maintained that amendments moved in the Winter Session have lapsed and members will have to give fresh notices on the Bill.
However, the Opposition insists that government had sought adjournment of the House on December 29 on the grounds that there were as many as 187 amendments and it needed time to go through it. Now that the government has had sufficient time, the proceedings should begin from where they were left.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government has studied the amendments moved by opposition and UPA allies. "We want to bring the Bill within this part of the session itself," he said in Rajya Sabha last week.
His statement marked a change of stand by the government as the minister had at a session-eve press conference said it would be difficult to take up the Bill in the first part due to financial business. Under the renewed effort, government is planning to drop the clauses in the Lokpal Bill pertaining to setting up of Lokayuktas in states, a provision that faced stiff opposition from friends and foes alike.