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Lok Sabha may discuss Lokpal after PM’s statement tomorrow

New Delhi: Lok Sabha could discuss the Lokpal issue tomorrow after a statement on it either by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The consensus emerged in a meeting of Leader of the House and all political parties in the office of Speaker Meira Kumar.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat said there is a likelihood that the discussion will start tommorrow after either of the two ministers make a statement as demanded by Opposition parties in the meeting.

Commenting on BJP’s opposition to hold the discussion under rule 193, which does not entail voting, Rawat said that the Oppostion party’s demand to discuss the matter under rule 184 that entails voting was an “after-thought”.

He said that even in today’s meeting a number of other political parties were not supportive of the demand for holding the discussion under rule 184.

Sources said that BJP gave two options to the government- either accept its demand for discussion under rule 184 or commence it in the House after a statement by the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister.

“A middle path is that begin the disucussion after a minister’s statement. Let us not go either by rule 184 or rule 193,” another Union minister said on the condition of anonymity.

Young Congress MPs Milind Deora, Jitin Prasada, Deepinder Singh Hooda and Sachin Pilot also discussed the issue with the Speaker.

Earlier, Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Rajiv Shukla huddled for a meeting in Bansal’s room. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister later also had a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Sources in the Government said holding the discussion under rule 184 will in a way tie the hands of the Standing Committee, which is examining the Lokpal issue.

They said that the Committee, which has to give shape to a law making process, will unnecessary get a sense of its hands being tied if there is any resolution with voting on the contents of the proposed law by Parliament.

Amid demands from Team Anna, a move to take up a discussion today in the Lok Sabha on the Lokpal issue turned contentious with BJP-led NDA opposing the debate under rule 193, which does not entail voting, forcing adjournment of the House for an hour.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal as also Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal sought to counter them in the House by asking what was BJP’s stand.

“It is the BJP’s duplicity. You say something inside and something outside,” said Bansal, asking the opposition party whether it was not wanting a discussion on the Lokpal issue.

After the adjournment, Bansal told reporters that the discussion on Lokpal issue seemed unlikely today and may be taken up tomorrow.

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