Government of India has indicated a softer stand on the demands of the Civil Society activists on Lokpal.
Home minister P Chidambaram, attended a press conference on Lokpal today, said he did not consider a fast by Anna Hazare after August 15 as an inevitability.
“Why do you consider it as inevitable?.. We will present a bill that satisfies the vast majority of the people,” Chidambaram said, striking perhaps the most conciliatory tone towards the other side in many days.
The statement also hints that the Government expects to present a bill that is a satisfactory compromise between what the Anna Hazare campaign wants and what it is willing to offer at present on the Lokpal issue.
Chidambaram also pointed out that it is not the draft which has been prepared by the five ministers on the drafting panel that will be ultimately submitted to the Parliament, but one that is further refined and distilled. “It will be sent to the nodal ministry,” he pointed out, adding that Government will make a new draft.
The new draft will be constructed after taking into consideration the scathing criticism that the current ministers’ draft has invited. It will also accommodate the views of the non-Congress political parties who are all being sought their opinions for.
The Government and the popular campaign against corruption have had a fall-out after both sides refused to amend their requirements from the Lokpal bill being framed to be presented before the Parliament by end of the month.
The Government wants a Delhi-only panel, while the activists want representatives and offices in each of India’s 600+ districts to take popular complaints. Government also wants to exclude most of the officials, including the public-facing ones, from the investigative powers of the upcoming Lokpal.