Lokpal debate on Saturday, but no voting

The debate on the Lokpal bills will take place in the Lok Sabha on Saturday. The debate will start at 11 AM with an opening address by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee but there will be no voting as the discussion will take place under Rule 193 which doesn't allow for it.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who ruled out replacing the official Lokpal Bill, is now expected to make a statement in Lok Sabha on Saturday which will form the basis for a discussion.

Mukherjee's statement will not only talk about the Government Lokpal Bill and Team Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill, but will also talk about other version of the bill prepared by Aruna Roy and Jayaprakash Narayan's Lok Satta party.

"We are making an announcement about the debate tomorrow. A statement will be made by the Leader of the House and then a debate will follow and contours of the debate are being worked out. Opposition leaders are being contacted. It will be a critical day tomorrow as far as Anna Hazare is concerned," said Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

Mukherjee will explain about the entire issue and the Government's strategy after which Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj will speak.

The crucial debate in Parliament was scheduled for Friday but had to be deferred by a day as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to reach an agreement on what form the discussion on the crucial anti-corruption law.

BJP leaders wanted the discussion to take place under Rule 184, which entails voting. However, the Government said no to the BJP's demand and instead proposed that the resolution will be discussed under Rule 342 under which if a consensus is reached and all the MPs agree then only voting can take place.

Anna Hazare has been on fast since August 16 demanding a strong anti-corruption law and has made it clear that he will not end his hunger strike unless Parliament passes a resolution which has the demands put forward by him - including the lower bureaucracy, citizen's charter and the appointment of lokayuktas in every state.

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