The BJP has decided to up the ante on the Lokpal Bill with Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Monday giving a notice for suspension of Question Hour on Tuesday to hold a discussion and pass the crucial legislation.
Sources said Mr. Jaitley gave the notice after the all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to reach a consensus on the Lokpal Bill.
The Opposition appears to have prevailed over the Manmohan Singh regime on the amendment which takes away the government’s right of transferring a CBI officer investigating a case referred to the agency by the Lokpal. This would give some independence to CBI in its functioning.
However, some sticking points still remain.
The Government is not agreeable to the BJP demand that an officer being probed for corruption and possessing disproportionate assets should be given a hearing by the Lokpal before the investigation is initiated. BJP maintains that this would take away the surprise element required in a search and seizure operation.
Meanwhile, some representatives of NGOs met Union ministers and Opposition leaders to demand that the government also pass the Citizens’ Charter along with the Lokpal Bill.
This was one of the key demands of Anna Hazare when the Jan Lokpal agitation began in 2011 in the capital.
Mr. Hazare is on an indefinite fast for the past seven days to demand passage of the Lokpal Bill.
The biggest hurdle seems to be the Samajwadi Party which has openly declared its opposition to the Lokpal Bill. It has said it will not allow the House to debate the Bill.
The BJP leaders alleged that this could be a “match-fixing” by the government as SP is an outside ally of the UPA. In the past, Congress has tamed the SP whenever required by raking up the disproportionate assets cases against its senior leaders.
Though BJP reiterated its stand in on Monday’s all-party meeting that it is ready to discuss and pass the Bill in the din, it remains to be seen how the Chair would proceed as both Houses have seen protests on a host of issues in this session.