Cutting across party lines, members in both Houses of Parliament were unanimous in their view that the fight against corruption should not lead to the dilution of Parliamentary supremacy.
On Wednesday, led by the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, a majority of the members charged the government with having lost the moral battle against Anna Hazare by introducing a “sarkari” Lokpal Bill.
“The people have a right to protest and their anger against corruption is fierce and fair because the government wanted a sarkari Lokpal,”
Jaitley said. He also chided the government for introducing the Bill in “haste”.
Amid disruptions by Congress members, Jaitley said the proposals of the civil society like inclusion of the Prime Minister, judicial accountability and public grievance redressal mechanism were reasonable. He accused the government of mishandling the civil society movement.
“You led them (civil society activists) up to a garden path, then suddenly dumped them. Now they do not trust you anymore,” Jaitley said.
Replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha, minister for personnel V Narayanasamy said the government will forward the Jan Lokpal Bill to the Parliamentary standing committee, which is considering the government's Lokpal Bill.
BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi made a scathing attack on the government in Lok Sabha saying the “government of the corrupt, by the corrupt and for the corrupt” and alleged that the government was born out of sin of the cash-for-vote scam of 2008.
Joshi's remark that there may not be any magic wand to check corruption but there are scientific and economic wands to check corruption brought a smile on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's face. Singh in his Independence Day speech said there was no "magic wand" to check corruption.
“You made my day. I have been dying to see a smile on your face,” Joshi said.
Welcoming the civil society initiative on Lokpal, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav cautioned the members that the attempt to defame politicians was dangerous for democracy.
He also recalled instances where the Parliament, irrespective of which party was in power, had punished corruption politicians in the past.
Basudeb Acharya of CPM talked about electoral reforms terming it a biggest reason for corruption in political class. He urged the government to start electoral reforms with state funding of candidates contesting elections.