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Lokpal Bill goes through in Rajya Sabha; SP walks out

Gargi Parsai
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Prime Minister included in its ambit with conditions

Anna Hazare celebrates with his supporters in Ralegan Siddhi on Tuesday after the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha.— PHOTO: PTI
Anna Hazare celebrates with his supporters in Ralegan Siddhi on Tuesday after the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha.— PHOTO: PTI

In a show of solidarity, marred only by a Samajwadi Party walkout, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed by voice vote the historic Lokpal Bill that provides for setting up an independent ombudsman to investigate charges of corruption against public functionaries. Among others, the Prime Minister is included in the Bill with some conditions.

“It is the collective will of the House that has delivered,’’ said Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal. He, however, admitted that the law, which has been hanging fire for the last four decades, came about “ in response to surge in opinion in society.’’

“By itself laws can help deal with the corrupt, but not with the impetus to be corrupt. For that the economic disparity between the poor and the rich has to go.’’

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, while supporting the Bill, said he was happy that the government had accepted all changes in “this changed environment”.

Some members said the political will shown by the government was related to the drubbing the Congress got in the recent Assembly elections.

The government moved a few amendments, dropped some, agreed to a BJP “ proviso’’ and did not accept an amendment pressed by the CPI(M). After the House said “aye’’ to the Bill, fasting social activist Anna Hazare thanked the government. The Bill will be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday

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