Sonia talks tough, says she'll fight for Lokpal

Hits out at those behind "a deliberate, malicious misinformation" campaign against the Congress

As the government is all set to introduce the much-awaited Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha today, Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a meeting of party MPs yesterday.

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At the convene, she defended the Lokpal Bill and thumped those behind "a deliberate, malicious misinformation" campaign against the Congress. "There is no reason to be defeatist," she told the MPs. Later, she told reporters that Team Anna should accept the Bill, and that she is ready to fight for it.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi visited the convocation ceremony that
was held in AIIMS yesterday. It will be quite a busy day for her as
government will introduce the much-awaited Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha
today. PIC/Rajeev Tyagi

Although the BJP did not make its position clear, the party may take a tough stand because many of its demands have not been acceded to in the final draft.

Opposition unclear?
"Though the final draft has not been made public, the initial reports are not very positive. We will not support the Lokpal Bill if the 18 points of dissent note, which were submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, are not incorporated," said Prakash Javdekar, BJP spokesperson.

Another BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said that the party had made its position clear in the dissent note to standing committee and would react only after getting the copy of final draft.

However, Team Anna's demand of bringing CBI under the Lokpal has not been accepted by the government. The BJP was also not in favour of bringing the CBI under complete control of the government.

Not so early
It's rocky way for Congress ahead, as Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and the Left parties are also opposed to rushing through the bill.

The UPA does not have majority in the Rajya Sabha and will need the support of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP. And if the bill is not passed in the Upper House, then a joint session of both the Houses may be called.

PM seeks parties' support to run the show
New Delhi: With repeated disruptions in parliament becoming a routine affair, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday appealed to all political parties to cooperate in running both its houses and restore the role of the institution.

"It is unfortunate that despite our best efforts, parliament has not been running smoothly," Manmohan Singh said while giving the K Karunakaran Award for 'best administrator in India' to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"I would like to say that it is the job of not only the ruling party but all political parties to cooperate constructively in running the house."

"We should work together to make parliament live up to the role and ideals that our founding fathers envisioned for it," he stressed. The PM's comments came against the backdrop of repeated disruptions in parliament, with virtually no business conducted on at least 10 days in the winter session.

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