Cong relegates civil society opinion to suggestions | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Cong relegates civil society opinion to suggestions

delhi Updated: Jun 08, 2011 20:21 IST

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On a day when Anna Hazare sat on a fast protesting the crackdown on Ramdev's protest, the Congress on Wednesday virtually declared redundancy of the Joint Committee to draft a strong Lokpal bill.

Party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said civil society representatives "could not be the alternate sources" for lawmaking, including the key legislation.

"There is a constitutional scheme of things needed to be adhered to including taking the views of the Parliament while deciding on the legislation. Whatever they say could be suggestions for draft but it can't be the legislation. This is not a banana republic. We are working under the constitution of India," she said.

The Congress spokesperson side-stepped questions whether the Prime Minister should be under the proposed Lokpal bill, noting that the Constitution review committee under justice M M Venkatachaliah had expressed itself against it.

The remarks of Natarajan came a day after Hazare and other representatives of the civil society boycotted a scheduled meeting, but made it clear that they would participate in future meetings.

Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is the chairman of the Committee and former law minister Shanti Bhushan is its co-chairman.

Natarajan also tried to drive a wedge between Hazare and Ramdev, saying the Gandhian appears to be unaware of the call for armed rebellion given by the Yoga Guru.

Natarajan dismissed as "unacceptable" Hazare's statement that what he was fighting the "second freedom struggle".