Lokpal Bill in LS: BJP attacks Govt, Lalu slams Anna (IBN)
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It was a day of high drama in Parliament on Thursday as the government tabled the Lokpal Bill after numerous adjournments and several MPs voiced their protests on different provisions of the proposed anti-corruption legislation.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) objected to minority quota and provision concerning state Lokayuktas, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh questioned bringing the Prime Minister and the MPs under its ambit.
The BJP claimed that allowing reservation on the basis of religion was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad mocked at Anna Hazare and his associates.
Lalu also blamed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government for trying to rush through the Bill. He was supported by several other parliamentarians including Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal (United) MP Sharad Yadav and Shiv Sena's Anant Geete.
After numerous adjournments, the Bill was introduced by Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs V Naryanaswamy.
Narayanasamy introduced the Bill after withdrawing the previous draft. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he is hopeful that the Lokpal Bill will be passed.
As soon as the Lokpal Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sushma Swaraj objected to the provision of providing reservation for the minority community in the anti-corruption legislation.
Swaraj said, "I am going to raise some objections on this bill and the Bill has disappointed us."
Swaraj added that if the Bill was challenged in court it would be struck down on the first day as doesn't merit the Reservation Policy. "Reservation based on the basis of religion is not allowed constitutionally," stated Swaraj.
She also demanded that the present Bill should be withdrawn. "It is important we make a law that is not patently unconstitutional and later rejected in the court of law," she said.
The Leader of Opposition also said, "State making Lokayukta will not be optional but mandatory which is not with the Constitution."
The BJP opposed introduction of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in present form and wants it revised.
However, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee countered Swaraj's allegation pointing out that Parliament has the right to pass a bill and make laws.
"This is not just a piece of law. There is an agitation on in the country for the Bill and a committee has been working to bring this Bill. If a bill is struck by courts it doesn't mean that Parliament doesn't pass the bill. It is for the courts to judge the constitutionality of a Bill. Our job is to make and pass the bill. Let the court do their job, we will do our job," said Mukherjee.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "This bill puts the PM under the Lokpal which is against the Constitution provision. What is the guarantee that all the member of Lokpal will be honest and will it not emerge as bigger a threat to the Constitution? So I ask the government not to present this Bill."
RJD chief Lalu Yadav also questioned the present version of the Bill and said, "How can five people (Team Anna) challenge the Parliament ?"
Yadav stated that not many people have studied the Bill and also questioned why the media is included in the Bill?
Pointing that this is not a strong Bill, Yadav said, "Media should be kept out of lokpal bill, but bring NGOs into it."
He also blamed the Congress and said this is the party's fault that this Bill is coming back as a monster.