Opposition terms abrupt RS adjournment a ‘big moral defeat' for UPA

Uproarious scenes were witnessed inside the Parliament House complex on Thursday midnight after the Upper House was adjourned abruptly without passing the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, with Opposition parties terming it a “big moral defeat” for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even demanded resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that it was running a “minority government.”

However, the Congress rubbished the charges and alleged that the Opposition parties, particularly the BJP, never wanted a Lokpal and that was why they brought so many amendments. It claimed that they were ready to pass the bill as cleared by the Lok Sabha.

“The government has lost all moral right to continue it power…it should resign immediately. The Congress was never serious and committed to bring a strong Lokpal. It knew that it would never be able to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, so it choreographed the entire drama of debate which continued till midnight. The Congress befooled the people and it could not shy away from its responsibility,” Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley told journalists here.

Similarly, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) termed it a “big moral defeat” for the Congress and stated that if the government was serious about the passage of the bill and carrying out amendments, it should have taken the Opposition parties in confidence.

However, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat told The Hindu that the number of amendments that were brought by the Opposition — a total of 187 — and that too as late as 6 p.m. on Thursday cleared points that the Opposition, particularly the BJP, never wanted the bill to be passed.

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“How can a government pass a bill with so many amendments without studying it and examining it? It was a pre-planned move by the BJP to discredit the government. We were ready to get the bill as passed by the Lok Sabha cleared by the Rajya Sabha, but the Opposition never allowed that to happen,” Mr. Rawat charged. Asserting that the government was committed towards creation of a strong institution of Lokpal, he said the Congress would soon honour its promise and get a strong and effective Lokpal bill passed.

Seeking the Opposition's support, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the government's intention should not be questioned as it had brought a strong law. “Do not try to question our intention [on the Bill] ... laws are made for 100 years,” he said.

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