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Updated: December 28, 2011 10:47 IST

Stage set for Lokpal Bill debate

Special Correspondent
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Preparations underway on Monday at the MMRDA Ground for Anna Hazare's fast in Mumbai. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal
Preparations underway on Monday at the MMRDA Ground for Anna Hazare's fast in Mumbai. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

The clock for the three-day timetable Parliament has set for itself to consider and pass the landmark Lokpal Bill and two related legislation will begin ticking a few hours from now. Neither those managing the affairs of the government nor those ranged in the Opposition are sure what will unfold.

However, what seems certain is a high-voltage political theatre. The government is determined to take up the Lokpal Bill, along with a Bill to give it constitutional status and another to protect whistle-blowers. Not just that, a senior minister told The Hindu: “We will make sure it is passed.” Failure to do so, the government believes, will give a shot in the arm to Anna Hazare and his campaign; while passing it might well take the steam out of it.

The Opposition parties, on the other hand, are equally determined to move a plethora of amendments on several contentious clauses relating to the CBI, the representation of minorities on the Lokpal and the State's right to legislate on Lokayuktas, among other issues.

The three Bills figure in the list of business of the Lok Sabha and, if they go through in the House, they will be taken up by the Rajya Sabha later. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has appealed to all the parties not to press any amendments and help in the passage of the Bills.

The much-awaited outcome of the extended session of Parliament coincides with the three-day fast in Mumbai by anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare who has captured the popular imagination. He has since reached Mumbai from Ralegan Siddhi.

The tumultuous debate witnessed in the Lok Sabha at the time of the introduction of the Lokpal Bill on December 23 has left little doubt that several clauses in it are contentious.

It is not just the Opposition, but some parties, such as the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, that have sided with the UPA in its hour of need, too are opposed to some of the crucial elements of the Bill. However, there are differences within the ranks of those who oppose the Bill over how it could be improved upon.

On the face of it, the reluctance on the part of the UPA to allow the Lokpal some degree of control over the CBI and the clause which places the Lokayuktas under Article 253 are two issues on which the entire Opposition is broadly united.

The BJP has tasked the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, with drafting the amendments. Indications are that it will move half-a-dozen amendments. The provision of a quota for minorities in the Lokpal has rattled the BJP. Its argument that this is in violation of the provisions of the Constitution has found no takers.

On the creation of the Lokayuktas in the States under Article 253 of the Constitution, the Opposition and some other parties contend that it undermines the federal structure of the Constitution by making it obligatory for the States to follow the Lokpal pattern. Instead, they want the Lokayuktas placed under Article 252.

The BJP and the Left are for bringing Group C employees directly under the control of the Lokpal. The RJD and the Shiv Sena are strongly against the proposal to place the Prime Minister under the Lokpal. The ruling combine, which has a little more than a simple majority of 272 in the Lok Sabha, can count on a smooth sailing for the Bill as long as it keeps its flock together and ensures the presence of all its members.

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Mr.Santosh....Read my lines once again.I never said the movement was wrong.Lets come back to your comments, your first line says'it takes time to stabilize',thats what every sane Indian feels, a beginning has been made,let us include and exclude in phase and not make the system a mockery by demanding everything in one shot.you further say, 'a kind of emotions across the country' well thats what I said too!As a citizen of India I too support the movement against corruption,but it has to be within our rights. your last line did bring a smile, if we forget the people,then for what or whom the movement is for?

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 18:10 IST

We Indians are dazzled by the emotional touch that is given by day today events, the prime examples are the "eternal" serials on television across channels, irrespective of languages. Now, even this moment (demand) for Lokpal seems more like such a serial. The huge crowd that followed Anna's Fast v1.0 has made Team Anna believe that aami admi is with them at any cost. It is quite a human nature to move on,this aam admi will move in search of his rozi roti sooner or the later. Team Anna should respect the Parliament and its implied powers in a democratic nation like India and stop dictating government with series of "impractical" demands. This will be an unpaid entertainment for Indians and for that matter to whole world. Once the tamasha is over no one really cares. If Anna Hazare wants a change, if he is a true Gandhian, he must convey his followers "You must be the change you want to see in the world" as quoted by Mahatma.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 12:54 IST

Very well said..No body seems to be serious and even people are enjoying protest, they don't want to change themselves but they want the change to come. Techies are enjoying making websites and people in our country which have become fond of social networking enjoying commenting and registering like they do in Facebook or twitter. The most effective Lokpal could only be the one inside ourselves who could check ones own acts of corruption. There are many laws and institutions but they are ineffective because people who man them are corrupt at heart. Change in the heart can only bring long lasting corruption free society.

from:  Brijesh Rajak
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 12:24 IST

"Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has appealed to all the parties not to press any amendments and help in the passage of the Bills" from the above news story states that rulling government is trying to pass the Lokpal Bill. Of course its a good sign of the rulling government. But at the same time all important things are needed to take into consideration. It should not be done hastelly but patiencely and diligently. Then fruitful result we may gain.

from:  Sudhansu Digal
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 12:19 IST

The change always start & should start from OURSELF. If we consider the lokpal bill its just a law which anna is trying to make stronger. He is absolutly wright in his idealogy. But to bring a change every individual should change theirself & fight against corruption. Laws are made but they are well implemented when people start following it and appreciating it. Its our responsibility to fight against corruption & not to encourage corruption to make our great nation corruption free.....
And i am sure that anna's revolution is a start mark for change. Now its our responsibility to keep this change persistant & help in its implemention..

from:  Roshan Tayade
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 12:07 IST

Mr. Prakash, every law has a begining and it takes some time to stabilize it and get its importance across the wide audience. Many a times, we dont do stuffs ourself when we know we have to do it. It happens almost every day in our life. Why? Becaus that a human tendancy. People will change theirselves when some examples are set infront of them. They will start realizing the power the bill. Coming back to your thought of same people will come back on streets if one of their beloved leader is being procecuted by lokpal, I am ashamed that you have not yet realized the core of the movement. Understand that this is not politically motivated movement which is blindly followed by a set of people of a particualr region or caste. Since last 9 months, kind of emotions we have seen across the country or across the globe per se, this is definitely a well thought and well accepted movement. So, please do not worry too much about the people and help us takign this movement ahead.

from:  Santosh Thapliyal
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 12:02 IST

Yes, Lokpal bill is not going to make any significant change in the corruption scenario in the country until and unless the people at large change their willing attitude to bribe for the sake of expediency !

from:  SP
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 11:53 IST

It was expected,the congress has to pass the bill,because it is the only way it can save itself from being branded anti-people.The opposition has a different work cut out,they cannot allow the congress to do that smoothly and take all the pride for it,so they have to create few hurdles and delay that process.Anna has a different view altogether,bring my Lokpal,as per my wish or face the music.I am afraid,no one is serious,and no one is fighting against corruption,it is just a myth.The fight against corruption will be a success only when people support the movement with a sense of reasoning,now they just follow their emotional impulses.Even 100s of Lokpal will be useless,I am sure the same people will be on the roads tomorrow burning Effigies,damaging public properties etc., if Lokpal finds one of their beloved leader corrupt. Lokpal will be of no use,unless we prepared to bring a change in ourselves.The big question is...ARE WE REALLY PREPARED FOR IT?

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 27, 2011 at 10:28 IST
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