Trinamool to support Lokpal Bill sans the Lokayukta clause

Trinamool Congress on Thursday said it will support the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha if it is brought without the clause about appointing Lokayuktas in the states.

"If the Lokpal Bill is presented without Lokayukta (clause), we will support that. This has been our demand. The states should have the powers to appoint the Lokayuktas. This has been our demand...," TMC leader and Minister of State for Tourism Sultan Ahmed said.

He was asked if his party would support the Lokpal Bill if it is brought without the Lokayukta clause.

TMC, the second-largest constituent of the ruling UPA, has been opposing the Lokpal Bill on the ground that the Centre was encroaching upon the rights of the states by proposing to have a say in the appointment of Lokayuktas in the states.

The much-debated Bill, which seeks to create an anti- corruption watchdog, is likely to come up in the Rajya Sabha next week.

The government may drop the Lokayukta clause in the Bill to bring some opposition parties as also allies like Trinamool Congress on board, according to sources.

In December last year, the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with certain amendments.

The government had failed to get a constitutional amendment cleared which sought to give constitutional status to the ombudsman.

Once the Bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha with amendments, it will have to travel back to the Lok Sabha for its approval in a new shape.

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