Lokpal Bill row: Team Anna meets BJP leaders

26 May 2011
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New Delhi, July 1 (ANI): Gandhian Anna Hazare and his civil society activists' team met senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders here on Friday ahead of the all-party meeting scheduled on July 3 to discuss the draft anti-graft Lokpal Bill.

The civil society members met BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley to garner support for their version of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

According to reports, Team Anna could not meet BJP President Nitin Gadkari, as he is in Berlin to attend a cultural festival celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living Foundation.

Gadkari had earlier hinted that his party may not attend the Lokpal Bill meeting on July 3.

"The NDA will meet and take a decision on whether to attend the all-party meeting. The UPA wants us to attend the all-party meeting because now it needs our help," said Gadkari.

In an endeavor to build a consensus on the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by the civil society activists, Hazare met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier on Thursday.

He also met Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary AB Bardhan in this regard.

Hazare also wanted to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi to try and bring her around to his side of the Lokpal debate, but the meeting did not take place on Thursday.

Hazare is meeting political leaders across the board to build a consensus on the Bill that members of the civil society have drafted - a key element of which is to include the Prime Minister under the purview of the Lokpal.

Civil society representatives and social activists Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi earlier met Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Prakash Karat in this regard.

They termed the meeting as positive and said that Karat agreed on several points with civil society members over the Lokpal Bill.

The final meeting between the government and civil society representatives on the Lokpal Bill ended here on June 21 with differences continuing to persist on six issues including bringing the post of the Prime Minister under the purview of Lokpal.

Two sets of drafts- one by the government and the other by the civil society representatives would now be circulated amongst political parties and then would be forwarded to the cabinet for the final drafting of the bill.

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