Submits memorandum, says government avoided vote on Lokpal Bill

Unfazed by criticism from across the political spectrum for taking in former BSP Ministers, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday urged President Pratibha Patil to “advise” the UPA government to re-convene Parliament to put the Lokpal Bill to vote.

Senior BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani and party president Nitin Gadkari, called on the President and submitted a memorandum, which held the government guilty of “complete subversion” of Parliament by “deliberately avoiding a vote on the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha.” Subash C Kashyap, a former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha, could not recall any instance of a President having asked the government to re-convene Parliament. “The President can send a message to the government or Parliament. Parliament can be summoned by President only on the advice of the Council of Ministers,” he told The Hindu.

Emerging from a brief meeting with the President, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told journalists that Ms. Patil promised to look into various aspects of the issue and take a view. The BJP's charge against the government is that it had “contrived disturbances” to avoid vote. In its representation to the President, the party has suggested that the government be asked to explain why the proceedings were disturbed.

Maintaining that a government that avoided a vote had no “moral authority,” the BJP has argued that governance is not being executed in accordance with the Constitution. However, the party has not asked the President to consider its dismissal.

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