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Updated: December 29, 2011 15:24 IST

Uncertainty looms large as Lokpal Bill goes to Rajya Sabha

K. V. Prasad
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Supporters of Anna Hazare during a protest at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. The ruling coalition needs a simple majority of 123 to ensure the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu
Supporters of Anna Hazare during a protest at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. The ruling coalition needs a simple majority of 123 to ensure the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Photo: S. Subramanium

Congress pins its hope on Independents and nominated members, also banks on walkouts

The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, cleared by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, will enter a decisive stage on Thursday with the Rajya Sabha scheduled to take it up for consideration and passage amid uncertainty over its fate.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's tally stands at 94 in a House with the present strength of 242 members. But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the “worst case scenario” for the ruling coalition was a support of 114, enough to ensure the passage of the Lokpal Bill and the Whistleblowers' Protection Bill.

The Congress is banking upon Independents and nominated members to see it through. Congress managers said it could be assumed that the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Samajwadi Party, with a collective strength of 27 MPs, would walk out, as they did in the Lok Sabha before these Bills were passed.

The ruling coalition needs a simple majority of 123 to ensure their passage, but the majority mark will come down if any party decides to keep away when voting takes place.

With the Lok Sabha rejecting the Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill, the Rajya Sabha is left with these two anti-corruption Bills.

BJP leader S.S. Ahluwalia said on Wednesday that they were waiting since the morning for these Bills to reach the House, and towards the evening, it was decided that the discussion would be held separately.

With the Opposition rejecting the government's suggestion to take these two Bills for discussion together, the House would have to have an extended sitting on the last day of the winter session.

Meanwhile, as the Congress exuded confidence of enacting the Bill to set up the Lokpal, its managers launched a late evening fire-fighting, after the Trinamool Congress, a UPA ally, flagged its objections to clauses dealing with the setting up of Lokayuktas.

Political sources said the Trinamool members were planning to move amendments to drop the clauses and also to rename the Bill. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his colleagues held discussions with Trinamool representatives to sort the issue out.

Besides the BJP, the Left parties are working to move amendments to the Lokpal Bill. Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M) said the party would press for amendments, including one to ensure that the federal character was not affected, to create an independent investigation wing for the anti-graft body, bring corporate and non-government organisations receiving foreign funds under the Lokpal and broad-base the process for selection of the Lokpal.

D. Raja of the CPI too said the party would move an amendment to include non-government organisations receiving funds from the government and through foreign contributions and corporate sector under the ombudsman.

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If we look at corruption and its effect on people,then it is at the state level we the people suffer the most.Right now all of them have suddenly forgotten their rivalrys and differences and are fighting against Lokayukta hand in hand, may be its the first time we see our Politicians afraid of something.I don't support any political party here. But the fact remains, congress may have delayed the bill, it may have brought a toothless bill,BUT IT DID TRY TO BRING A BILL and give it constitutional status.But it is sad and surpraising that the people who termed the government corrupt worked together in making the anticorruption lokpal a useless tool.Let us watch the developments closely, let us not spare even one Politician who goes against the national or peoples interest, right now debate is on the way in RS,they may defeat the Lokpal or Lokayukta now, but a Poltician who works against peoples or country's interst should never find his place back in LS or RS...THAT IS IN OUR HANDS...

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 12:50 IST

“Every event in life can be causing only one of two things. Either it is good for you, or it is bringing up what you need to look at in order to create good for you.” – Deepak Chopra
Sooner Congress-led UPA realize and deeply introspect to “bringing up what you need to look at in order to create good for” the country. Seems quite futile to expect any wisdom to dawn on Congress, deeply mired and foundering like a ship without rudder. Amazingly UPA is unable to comprehend that essential feature of democracy involve working with body of active citizens (civil society) working together on issues affecting them. Many of our parliamentarians are arrogated with the feeling that role of citizen is exhausted by electing a government. Good democratic parliament for its part will seek to foster a vibrant civil society and to work closely with it in finding solutions to problems facing the country, and in improving the quality and relevance of legislation.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 11:01 IST

What we need in India is 'Military Rule'. Actually, politicians are not interested in bringing real Janlokpal Bill in Parliament, that we can see from these political dramas. Why not bringing corporate sector under the ombudsman? Without bringing corporate sector and CBI within the ambit of Ombudsman, lokpal is null and void. Further reservation to minority classes is quite bullshit. Also should bring Class 'C' and 'D' employees under the ombudsman. This is the real Janlokpal.

from:  Rajendran Chandrasekharannair
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 10:36 IST

I could see one common demand amoung all the parties that CBI has to be brought under the lokpal to curb the corruption and it has to have independant investigation wing. But at the same time they are against to setting up the lokayuktas at state level. State Political parties are afraid of this cluase as this will provide parallel and equal power to questioning the State govenments.

from:  Vijayasankar R
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 10:00 IST

'Not the responsibility of BJP to fulfill Rahul's dream' thats what BJP has to say.Why Rahul, it is the responsibility of a responsible Parliamentarian to listen to even a laymans call, if it is in the interest of the nation, I think there is no room for ego or Politics here.Its clear BJP is finding itself in a difficult position to defend.One good thing this Lokpal issue has done is, it has exposed all the political parties, it is upto us, the common man to wakeup now, and raise above our personal likes and dislikes, and plan the country's future when elections arrive.The true and serious involvement and move of ours in the democratic process is the only way to a corruptfree Politics which no law of this land can achieve,because they have been made slaves to the Politicians. But we are not slaves, we are the true masters and makers, its in our hands now to choose an able Govt. to work for Us.Lets Throw the corrupts with our mandate.ARE WE PREPARED?

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 09:22 IST

INDIA today is stuck between a rock and a hard place – whether to pass a ‘corruption promotion / protection bill’ (as many thoughtful national leaders/papers have said), or to ensure that such tyrannical laws are not enacted. The most that can be expected from this process are (i) airing of the issues in the open – both in and out of parliament, both regionally/nationally and internationally (ii) increasing citizens’ awareness of how much they are being exploited, about their rights & duties, and suggesting that they can change things and how - if they want to (iii) identifying some of the powerful vested interests and exposing a tiny bit of their iron grip on the nation (iv) partially exposing the inescapable party-politicking in a democracy (however perfect). The President said corruption (read INDIAN GREED) is destroying India, and only time will tell whether INDIAN SELFISHNESS & APATHY will destroy the future also (bar those who have emigrated). MOTHER INDIA WEEPS TODAY!

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Dec 29, 2011 at 06:30 IST
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