A fresh twist in the lokpal tale on Wednesday saw the focus shifting back to bringing the lower bureaucracy under the watchdog, as three Congress MPs openly backed the demand at the parliamentary panel’s final meeting.
Led by Meenakshi Natarajan — a close associate of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi —her party colleagues Deepa Dasmunshi and PT Thomas demanded that around 57 lakh Group C government employees be made accountable to the lokpal, and not state lokayuktas.
The report of the Abhishek Singhvi-led parliamentary standing committee examining the lokpal bill is set to be placed in Parliament on Friday following its adoption, which was marred by dissent notes from at least 16 of the 31 members on different issues.
Singhvi said the panel had done its best to make recommendations with the widest possible acceptance.
“If somebody wanted us to merely put a rubber stamp on the jan lokpal bill, then there is no need for parliamentary committees,” he said.
The government indicated it was considering the inclusion of the prime minister under the lokpal’s ambit with certain safeguards. It is also preparing itself to bring the amended bill before Parliament by December 19, which would give it four days to get the bill discussed and passed in both Houses.
The final report of the committee has left the decision of inclusion of the prime minister to Parliament and recommended that the lower bureaucracy (Group C and D employees) be brought under the Central Vigilance Commission.
The divided panel saw BJP, Left, Samajwadi Party and Biju Janata Dal members submitting dissent notes.
Lalu Prasad of the RJD and Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP dissented on their demand to provide reservation for weaker sections in the lokpal.