Monday, December 26, 2011

Govt asks Anna to wait for outcome of Parliament debate (HT)

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On the eve of Anna Hazare's fast against 'weak' Lokpal Bill, government has asked him to wait for the outcome of Parliament's debate on the legislation before launching his agitation.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said that the government was aware of some sticking
points in the Lokpal bill opposed by social activist Anna Hazare but the "final shape" of the contentious anti-graft legislation would be decided by Parliament.

"We know there are few points but it is for the Parliament to decide what will be the final shape of the legislation," Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi.
Asked if there was any pressure on MPs in the wake of Hazare's fresh agitation for passing the bill, the minister said: "We have brought the legislation for the consideration of the house. Let's see. I cannot make any premature comment what will happen, how the members of parliament will respond to various provisions of the bill."

"As and when the discussion will take place we will come to know," he said.

He said it was Parliament's job to make laws. "We had several rounds of discussions with Anna Hazare and his team. I think nine meetings I had in the joint drafting committee. Thereafter also through interlocutors some discussions have taken place," he said.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla said everyone should leave it to Parliament to decide on the Lokpal as it is in its domain now.

"The government has already piloted the Bill in Lok Sabha. It is a very strong and effective Bill. So, I think we will go by the decision of Parliament. Everybody will be deliberating upon that," he said here.

"I would only request him (Hazare) to wait for the outcome of Parliament," he said when asked whether he thought Hazare should have more patience on the issue.

Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat also said on Monday that the legislation should be left to the wisdom of Parliament.

The minister said that most of Team Anna's suggestions have been accommodated in the bill and it has been framed keeping in mind the welfare of all sections of society.

"All good suggestions have been accommodated keeping in mind the welfare of the country and all sections of society, and if there are some points left, Annaji and his companions should leave it to the wisdom of parliamentarians and parliament," he said.

“Most of their suggestions have been more or less accommodated in the bill. From the main draft to the new bill, it has been a long journey drafting the bill,” Rawat told reporters.

On Hazare suffering from viral infection, Shukla said: "I will always wish him the best health. At the same time, I think he should wait for the outcome of Parliament and then only he should go ahead."

Meanwhile, Congress sought to know why BJP jumps to Hazare's defence whenever someone alleges that the anti-corruption crusader has links with RSS.

"Whenever it is asked whether Anna Hazare shares same views as BJP and RSS, instead of Team Anna replying to the question we have the BJP and RSS clarifying that Hazare has no link with them. I am surprised with such kind of equation shared between them," Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi said.

Hazare will launch a 3-day fast from Tuesday in Mumbai in protest against the 'weak' Lokpal Bill introduced by government in Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha is expected to debate the crucial legislation on Tuesday. The winter session, which was to end Dec 22, has been extended Dec 27-29 to discuss the bill.

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