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Updated: December 29, 2011 15:23 IST

Their moral authority is lost: Sushma

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Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. File photo
The Hindu
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. File photo

Bill rejection was outcome of misreading the situation: Bansal

The rejection of the Constitution Amendment Bill on Lokpal in the Lok Sabha has set off a debate on whether the government has lost its moral authority to govern when it has failed to demonstrate a simple majority on the floor of the House.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj was categorical that the inability of the UPA to prove a simple majority of 273 in a House of 545 has put a question mark on its moral authority to continue in office.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal rejected this contention. Given the strength of the ruling combine in the Lok Sabha, there was no way it could have ensured the passage of the Bill, he said. “Where is the question of loss of moral authority when the inability of the government to carry through a constitutional amendment without the support of the Opposition is inherent in the very nature of the current Lok Sabha?”

Leave alone the Opposition, the government could not convince some of its allies and supporting parties to back the Lokpal Bill, Ms. Swaraj said. Without naming the Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, she said some of the partners of the UPA openly criticised the Bill.

The Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (which extend issue based support to the UPA) walked out from the Lok Sabha when the Lokpal Bill came for voting. “A government which could not muster support from its own ranks is putting the blame at our door. Is it our responsibility to do floor management?” Ms. Swaraj said.

Countering the charge that it was the poor floor management of the government that led to the collapse of the Constitution amendment Bill, Mr. Bansal maintained that it was a misreading of the situation. His argument was that if all the 277 members of the UPA were present in the House, the Bill would still not have sailed through. There were two requirements for passing a Constitution amendment Bill. It had to be adopted by two-thirds of the members of the House present and voting and with a majority not less than 50 per cent of the strength of the House.

“If we look at the situation in the Lok Sabha, as per the count, 420 members were present and voted on the Constitution Amendment Bill. Support of at least 285 was needed to see the Bill through. The combined strength of the UPA in the House is only 276, excluding the Speaker. So it can't be anyone's argument that the Bill fell as only 251 UPA members were present at the time of voting,” Mr. Bansal said.

The Minister conceded that at least 13 members of the Congress and seven members of the UPA alliance were not present when the Bill came up for voting. The Congress would serve show cause notice to its MPs to explain their absence. “We will look at their response and consider appropriate action.”

Ms. Swaraj said the government could not have counted on the BJP's support as the party had pointed to the “patently unconstitutional” elements in the Constitution Amendment Bill at the time of the introduction of the Lokpal Bill as well as in the course of the discussion. The party had made it clear that it would not support the Bill in its present form. “We voted against the Lokpal Bill. How can anyone expect us to support the Constitution Amendment Bill conferring constitutional status on an “unconstitutional” Lokpal?” Ms. Swaraj said.

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Anna started the anti corruption campaign this year. Government done everything to defame his movement and today Government itself defamed. It is the power of 1 man to bring Lokpal into Parliament but now people pressure would decide fate of Lokpal

from:  Ankur
Posted on: Dec 30, 2011 at 02:56 IST

Really speaking not a single M.P.want to pass this bill, under pressure of Anna `s fast and public anger parliament playing this drama. I am sure in Rjyasabha this bill not passed.How can any MP.elect in parliament without raising fund and all fund is black money.How can without corruption?

from:  Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 21:48 IST

so much for the talk of morals!!! I still remember, I was in college, when BJP lost the elction (I would put it in decent words,not using the words what sushma used then) said she will shave her head if Sonia becomes PM, The constitutional law prevailing didn't object that process..after losing the elections if thats what she had to say, then she doesn't have any right to talk about morals.

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 20:43 IST

The government may or may not have lost moral authority. But the opposition parties and the so called Team Anna have surely lost it. They evoked hopes in the minds of the common man and woman by raising the anti-corruption slogan. The whole India felt united around this noble ideal. But the leadership of the movement and the opposition parties betrayed the man on the street once again by letting petty political ambitions and hatred of the congress party and its leaders poison the soul of the movement. We hoped Anna would be a true Gandhian, able to rise above partisan feelings. But time and again he showed that there is venom in his soul. For Gandhi purification of the soul was of utmost importance. He fasted and retired into himself in order to examine and cross-examine his intentions before embarking on a course of action. The cause as well as the intentions behind espousing it had to be noble. How far removed from this ideal is the Anti-corruption movement. Sad!

from:  Rafa
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 16:53 IST

If the minority govenment led by the Congress party, surviving as it is with outside support, fails to get a major bill passed in the Lok Sabha with some Congress party members missing from the house during voting, the leader of the opposition is right in claiming that the government has lost its moral authority to rule. It is surprising that the media, especially the electronic media, cannot understand the feelings of the people around the country and is vehementally supporting the government rediculing the efforts of Anna Hazare and his team.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 11:50 IST

Agreed that the Congress party has lost its moral authority to rule as per Sushma Swaraj's claim. But BJP is not an alternative to Congress,being it lost its moral authority, when it stood exposed to the illegal mining scam in Karnataka. Sushma has been a party to Reddy brothers, who plundered the natrual resources of India. If BJP wants to come back to power, let it come clean and reform itself on the matter of 2G spectrum which it started and the illegal mining scam.

from:  Syed Kabeer Ahmed
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 06:28 IST
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