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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Will back Anna inside & outside Parliament: BJP

Opening up its cards for the first time on Anna Hazare's agitation, the BJP on Thursday (August 25) came out in support of his Jan Lokpal Bill saying it should be made the basis of discussion in Parliament over creation of an effective ombudsman and asking the government to withdraw its version of the legislation.

"The BJP supports Jan Lokpal Bill proposed by team Anna. It should be introduced in Parliament. We will make it as the basis of discussion. The Government's Lokpal Bill has gone to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Government can withdraw its Bill with the Opposition's consent," BJP president Nitin Gadkari told a press conference at the party headquarters.

He said he was worried about Anna Hazare's health and urged the Prime minister to take immediate steps to end the current impasse and help the Gandhian end his fast.

"BJP is with Anna Hazare on the issue of corruption and supports his movement. But the way the situation is deteriorating, it is not good for the nation. Keeping in view the interest of the nation and Anna's health, I appeal to the Prime Minister to take immediate steps. I hope a positive response from the Government," Gadkari said.

Ahead of the debate on Jan Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha today, Anna Hazare team last night reached out to BJP which said a solution to the impasse could be found in consonance with the Constitution if the government has a "constructive" attitude.

Hazare's associates Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi met senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari for over three hours explaining their version of the Lokpal Bill and gave "clarifications" on aspects over which the Opposition party had "doubts".

"We discussed how a solution could be found while preserving the prestige of Parliament and Constitution," Jaitley told reporters later.

He said the civil society representatives agreed that a solution should be in consonance with the Constitution, he said, adding the rest depends on whether the government has a "positive" and constructive" approach.

If government "sincerely" approaches the issue, a solution should not be difficult, the BJP leader said.

He said the Hazare team had given clarifications to the BJP leaders on various aspects over which they had "doubts".

Regarding questions over whether Prime Minister should be brought under the purview of Lokpal, Jaitley said the BJP had clarified its position on July 4 that he should be included. With regard to higher judiciary, he said the BJP favoured
a separate commission.

The team Hazare said while they were waiting for government's response on its demands, the main Opposition "broadly agreed" with their version of the anti-graft legislation.

Prashant Bhushan said he hoped that the resolution to be moved in Lok Sabha on Friday would be "clear" enough and would include the three vital issues raised by them so that Hazare could end his fast.

On meeting with BJP leaders, Kejriwal said, "it appears, they agreed on almost all aspects of the Jan Lokpal Bill." With regard to higher judiciary, he said the Hazare team had no objection to bringing of separate Judicial Accountability Bill and setting up Judicial Accountability Commission.

Bhushan said the Commission should be independent of the judiciary and government and have powers to investigate corruption in judiciary which is not provided for in the government's present bill.

The present bill only deals with misconduct within judiciary and riddled with conflict of interest, he said.

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