New Delhi: Affirming his commitment for a strong and effective Lokpal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there is a "dynamic" in the legislative process which takes time.

In an apparent reference to Anna Hazare demand for passing the Jan Lokpal by this month-end, Singh said he does not want to controvert anything that was being said on it.

He said all the parties should work together to push for a "strong and effective" Lokpal and remove the "obstacles" in the way.

Observing that there was a "lot of scope for give and take", the Prime Minister said the government was "open to discussion and dialogue" as it wants a national consensus to emerge.

"We are all in favour of a Lokpal, which is strong, which is effective," he told a group of journalists after a full Planning Commission meeting while answering questions on the Hazare agitation.

"We are open to, I think, discussion and dialogue. We would like...a broad national consensus to emerge," Singh underlined.

“Therefore there is a lot of scope for give and take. Our hope is that we can enlist the cooperation of all thinking segments of Indian public opinion to ensure that the end product is a strong and effective Lokpal which all sections of our community want," he said.

He noted that the government had presented a Lokpal Bill in the Parliament which was the demand of all political parties voiced at a conference convened by him.

"They (parties) said we cannot give you our view point unless and until you come out with a draft. We have fulfilled that obligation," he said.

We are open to all views: Par Panel

The Parliamentary panel examining the Lokpal Bill is open to all kinds of views to formulate a strong legislation and has not pre-judged the issue, the panel chairman Abhishek Singhvi said on Saturday.

"I wish to reiterate again and again that we are open to all options and views. Every aspect process, input, draft, suggestion and consequence is completely open...No one should have any doubt that the Committee is having any kind of pre-judgement on any issue. We are at the beginning, not the end of the process," Singhvi, heading the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal, told reporters.

His remarks came in reply to questions on whether the Committee could also agree to some of provisions of the Jan Lokpal bill as being demanded by the Anna Hazare Team.

Singhvi insisted that there was a procedure that has to be followed indicating that meeting the deadline of Team Anna that the Lokpal Bill should be presented before the Parliament by end-August may not be possible.

"If we follow the detailed procedure as laid in the tradition and complete the job by August 31 and present the Bill, you will make fun of our Committee and say that you did work without seriously applying your mind," he said speaking on behalf of the Standing Committee and with a caveat that it was for the government to take decision in this regard.

"The Committee has invited views of diverse stakeholders. It will take them up clause by clause to take ideal elements of each proposal and try to create the best and strongest
Bill," he added.

Singhvi's remarks are significant as the committee is contemplating inviting Anna Hazare team as well as some other some other civil society members for a meeting on the issue in the first week of September.

Singhvi, who is also the spokesperson of the ruling Congress, made the remarks on a day when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh affirmed that there was a "lot of scope for give and take" on the Lokpal Bill and the government was open to "discussion and dialogue" on the issue.

Govt raps Team Anna

The government on Saturday came down heavily on Team Anna, saying its criticism of Parliamentary Standing Committee was a "clear case of breach of privilege" and calling MPs "thieves" is equal to casting aspersion on Parliament itself.

"The Parliamentary Standing Committee system has been evolved so that it is going to be a mini Parliament. If anybody criticises the Parliament Standing Committee, if they cast aspersions on it, it is clearly a case of breach of privilege," Minister of State for the PMO V Narayanasamy told reporters here.

"If somebody says that Members of Parliament are 'chor', that means that they are not only casting aspersion on the MPs but on Parliament itself," he said reacting to the questions on alleged remarks against the MPs by the supporters of Anna Hazare who is spearheading a campaign against corruption.

Narayanasamy said if anybody criticises the functioning of the Standing Committee, then it is amounting to a criticism of the MPs who are sitting there in the committee and it is also "a clear case of breach of privilege".

Referring to the "several allegations" being made against the MPs, the minister also agreed with the observations that "there should be a 'Lakshman rekha' for everybody".

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla also said "there should definitely be a 'Lakshman rekha' for protest" while giving "a full freedom" to stage protest.

(JPN/Agencies)