M A I N   N E W S

Lokpal Bill in monsoon session: Pranab
Says NDA couldíve cleared the Bill, but it didnít

Thiruvnanthapuram, April 10
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the UPA government was ready to bring in and get the Lokpal Bill passed in the next session of Parliament if the Opposition cooperated with it.

Responding to queries on BJP leader LK Advani's demand that the Lokpal Bill should be introduced and passed in the next session of Parliament itself, Mukherjee said "we are glad to get it passed if the Opposition co-operated for it".

"I really welcome the suggestion. The BJP is the principal opposition party. If he (Advani) prevails upon his members we will be too glad to get it passed without sending it to the Standing Committee. But instead of making announcements from the platform, let him ensure that his members in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will co-operate with us," Mukherjee told reporters at the KPCC headquarters here.

But he sought to know what the BJP-led NDA government had done for the enactment of the Lokpal Bill when it was in power from 1998 to 2004. "What had Advani done? What prevented him from getting the Lokpal Bill passed when he was the Home Minister when the NDA was in power?" Mukherjee said.

Commenting on the Lokpal Bill panel, Mukherjee said: "There will be a committee having 50:50 members. Members representing the civil society will be nominated by Anna Hazare. Members representing the government will be nominated by the Prime Minister. We have no role to select the members nominated by Anna Hazare. He has given five names. Those names are known to you."

Hazare called off his hunger strike on Saturday after the government issued a gazette notification constituting a 10-member Joint Committee of Ministers and civil society activists, including him, to draft an effective Lokpal Bill. ó Agencies






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