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Lokpal bill to be introduced in Lok Sabha Thursday

Tuesday August 02, 2011 06:50:41 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Lokpal bill will be introduced in the Lok Sabha Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

"The Lokpal bill will be introduced on Thursday. We have already given notice but there are certain requirements about the preparation of the bill as it has not been circulated," Bansal told reporters outside the Parliament House Tuesday.

"Members have to receive the copies. They will get the copies tomorrow (Wednesday). In all probability, it (bill) will be introduced the day after (Thursday)."

Bansal said as all parties are in favour of introducing the draft bill at the earliest, the government has written to the speaker to waive off the two-day period required to distribute copies of any new bill to all political parties to enable them to study it.

Earlier, in the day, Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy gave the notice to the speaker.

"Our paperwork is complete. We have written to the speaker and it is up to her to take a decision," Narayanasamy told reporters.

The bill was finalised by the central government July 28 after months of meetings, debates and on occasions acrimony between the representatives of civil rights activists, led by social activist Anna Hazare, and the ministers.

Although, the activists wanted a strong Lokpal which brings the prime minister and higher judiciary within its ambit, the government kept them out of it. The government also kept parliamentarians' conduct inside the house out of the purview of the Lokpal.

On Tuesday, Hazare also wrote an open letter to parliamentarians seeking their support.

In his letter, Hazare has urged MPs to ask for a strong Lokpal and slammed the government version of the bill.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also reiterated that it wants a strong Lokpal that covers the prime minister.

"We are in favour of a strong Lokpal which has the prime minister in its ambit," BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.

The BJP leader, however, added that the party will disclose its stand on the other aspects of the bill after it is tabled in the two houses during the current session.

"When the debate on the bill takes place, we will disclose our stand," he said.

The government in its draft has said that the prime minister can be probed but after he demits office and with a time limitation of seven years.

The Lokpal, consisting of a chairperson and eight members, half of them judicial, will have its own prosecution and investigation wings with officers and staff to carry out its functions.

Hazare has threatened that if the government does not come out with a strong Lokpal, he would go on hunger strike again starting Aug 16.








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