Shrewd BJP’s balancing act
The BJP will move an amendment to Lokpal Bill calling for model legislation for the creation of Lokayuktas in states under Article 252 of the Constitution. HT reports. Sticking points still remaindelhi Updated: Dec 23, 2011 01:33 IST
The BJP will move an amendment to Lokpal Bill calling for model legislation for the creation of Lokayuktas in states under Article 252 of the Constitution. Under this, if two or more states pass resolutions asking Parliament to regulate a state list matter, the Parliament can invade the state list. Other states too can then pass resolutions to come under the Central law.
Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the party supported this provision in the interest of the federal structure, rather than making a provision under Article 253, which would make Centre’s law binding on states. But BJP’s dissent note before the Standing Committee on Law and Justice had suggested a law under either Article 252 or 253.
The BJP has sought to benefit politically from the civil society’s anti-graft campaign, while silently steering clear of some of their more extreme demands. It has, however, tactically highlighted points of convergence.
The party had watched from sidelines as Team Anna attacked the government in its early days of the agitation. As Hazare’s fast at Ramlila Maidan reached a crescendo, the party sought to wrest political advantage by first backing his three key demands for the fast to end.
Even when it made its position clear before the standing committee, it had some differences with Team Anna, which it publicly reduced to a subtext: Team Anna’s demand to bring MPs’ conduct in Parliament under Lokpal or giving Lokpal the power to tap phones.
The party struck middle ground by pushing for a second appeal for a separate grievance redressal mechanism, rather than pushing for the citizens' charter under Lokpal. It, however, converged with Team Anna on the PM’s inclusion.
The party has disagreed strongly on minority quota within Lokpal. Swaraj said there was no Constitutional validity of religious quotas; the “not less than 50% quota” clause would make quota breach the court’s 50% cap in the nine-member body; and there are no quotas in Constitutional bodies.
It will also move amendments for Group C staff to be under Lokpal and for freeing the CBI from government and bringing it under Lokpal’s supervision.