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PM under Lokpal: Now,Diggy’s stand same as party’s

Striking a different note,Singh had said that PM and judiciary should be brought under ambit of Lokpal Bill.

Senior Congress leader today made a U-turn on his statement that Prime Minister should come within the ambit of Lokpal saying he will go with the view of the party and the joint drafting committee on it.

“My stand is the same as that of the party. Let the Lokpal drafting committee decide. I will go with that decision and the decision of the party,” he told reporters.

He was asked about his yesterday’s statement to reporters in Guna in Madhya Pradesh that the Prime Minister,judiciary,NGOs and industrial houses should also be brought under the ambit of the Lokpal. But there should be a system to ensure that Lokpal does not not misuse its power,he had said.

While the civil society members of the joint drafting committee have demanded inclusion of Prime Minister under the scrutiny of the proposed anti-corruption watchdog,the ministerial members of the committee have expressed their reservations over such a proposal.

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The government view is that such a provision would lead to undermining the office of the Prime Minister with the possibility of frivolous allegations being made against the incumbent.

Singh said the drafting committee should first be allowed to complete its job and then the matter can be debated in Parliament.

When questioned about his statement yesterday,from which some senior Congress leaders have distanced themselves,he merely said,”I have conveyed my views a number of times on these issues. I need not repeat it.”

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The AICC general secretary had yesterday said,”My view is that the Prime Minister,judiciary,NGOs and industrial houses should also be brought under the ambit of Lokpal. But there should be a system to ensure that the Lokpal does not misuse its power.”

“When I was the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister,I had brought the CM’s post under the purview of Lokayukta (Ombudsman),” he had said.

Asked whether his statement points to differences between the government and the party on the issue,Singh said,”Leave this to the drafting committee. It is their job.”

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“Let the committee,which has members from the civil society as well,first complete its job and give the recommendations. Then it can also go to the Standing Committee. As far the passing of legislation is concerned,it is Parliament’s job. Let this be a matter of debate within Parliament rather than outside,” he said.

To a question on whether his stand is not at variance with that of the government,which has almost rejected these demands of the civil society,Singh said that he remembers “having read a statement of Prime Minister in which he had said that he had no objection to it.”

Singh also stressed that the post of Chief Minister was under the ambit of Lokayukta when he was the CM in Madhya Pradesh.

At the same time,Singh said there should also be deliberations on creating a “safeguard mechanism” so that Lokpal does not become an authority investigating each and every issue against the Prime Minister,who has been elected by the whole nation.

After Singh’s statement,a senior party leader speaking on the condition of anonymity,had said that the party was with the government on the issue and it would support the formulation of the government on the Lokpal issue stressing there was no question of the party having any different views from it.

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The leader had said that Singh’s remarks were personal as the “party is what Pranab Mukherjee has said”.

First published on: 13-06-2011 at 16:20 IST
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