“Prime Minister is the keystone in our system and if he goes, the entire government goes”
Bringing the office of Prime Minister under the Lokpal will result in “institutionalised permanent instability,” Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.
Two days after the Union Cabinet approved the Lokpal Bill that keeps out the office of Prime Minister from its ambit, much to the anger of civil society, Mr. Mukherjee, who chaired the joint drafting committee with Team Anna Hazare, strongly defended the decision. “In this time of frenzy, anybody can write to the Lokpal and make a complaint. If the Lokpal prima facie sees merit in it... the Prime Minister will have to resign. The Prime Minister is the keystone in our system and if he goes, the entire government goes. This way, you will institutionalise permanent instability,” he told PTI.
In this context, he recalled that the Bharatiya Janata Party had demanded a fixed tenure for the Lok Sabha, without its dissolution mid-term, after three general elections in as many years, from 1996 to 1999.
On Mr. Hazare's threat to go on fast from August 16 in protest against the Cabinet's decision to keep the office of Prime Minister, the judiciary and the conduct of MPs in Parliament from the Lokpal's ambit, Mr. Mukherjee said that if Mr. Hazare felt that the civil society's Bill was the best, he should convince political parties backing him to get it passed in Parliament even without any discussion. “How can you threaten the government on this point?”