Hopes of a consensus on the Lokpal Bill seem to have brightened with the government on Thursday reaching out to the Opposition and other parties and signalling its willingness to rework contentious clauses,including letting states decide on the Lokayukta,making the panel appointing or removing Lokpal more balanced,and bringing foreign funded NGOs under its ambit.
Government managers on Thursday suggested that the Bill could be taken up in the Rajya Sabha next week,depending on the narrowing down of differences with Leader of Opposition and other parties. As part of the exercise,Union ministers Kapil Sibal,Salman Khurshid,Pawan Kumar Bansal and V Narayanasamy met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and discussed the issues on which the two sides had not been able to find common ground.
The BJP had sought amendments in two key areas the process of appointment and removal of Lokpal in which it wanted to ensure that government-appointed nominees do not tilt the balance in governments favour,and keeping the CBI out of government control. UPA sources signalled that the two amendments were under active consideration.
Government managers indicated that the Centre could either consider the option of keeping Lokayukta out of the Lokpal Bill and let the states decide or propose a model law to be passed by Parliament that could enable them to create their own Lokayukta.
The government turnaround had been indicated much earlier after states like West Bengal had opposed the Lokayukta clause in the Bill.
The Left,with whom government representatives are likely to meet on Friday,had demanded that foreign-funded NGOs be brought under Lokpal. We would like the Bill to come to the RS only after there is a consensus. If the Bill is brought and then consensus is sought,it would lead to certain problems, Khurshid said.