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Corruption debated in Parliament

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2011 21:38 IST
HT Correspondent

Members cutting across party lines were unanimous that the fight against corruption should not lead to dilution of Parliamentary supremacy while the Opposition charged the government of losing moral battle against Anna Hazare with the introduction of "sarkari" Lokpal Bill.

Both the houses of Parliament on Tuesday discussed the issue of corruption. Replying to the debate in Rajya Sabha, minister for personnel V Narayanasamy said the government will forward the Jan Lokpal Bill to the Parliamentary standing committee considering the government's Lokpal bill.

The minister also said there should be concerted efforts by the Centre and the state governments and stake holders, including corporates to fight corruption, while admitting of corruption all levels.

"The people have the right to protest and their anger against corruption is fierce and fair because the government wanted a "Sarkari Lokpal," said leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, while chiding 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.

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 saying that there may not be any magic wand to check corruption there are scientific and economic wands to check corruption had a smile on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's face. Singh in his Independence Day speech said that there is no "magic wand" to check corruption.

"You made my day. I have been dying to see a smile on your face," Joshi remarked.

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. "Corruption is not in our blood but in our bones," he said, to indicate the penetration of corruption in the society.

He also recalled instances where the Parliament, irrespective of which party was in power, had punished corruption politicians in the past.

Basudeb Acharya of CPI(M) 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.

During the discussion in Rajya Sabha, members from JD-U clashed with those from RJD and LJP on the issue of corruption in Bihar, prompting the Chair to reprimand them saying the House should not be turned into a "market place".

Trouble started when LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan referred to the scam in allotment of industrial plots by the Nitish Kumar government with JD (U) countering by accusing him and RJD in the fodder scam.

Commerce minister Anand Sharma said all shades of opinion will be honoured in enactment of an effective legislation against corruption while referring to the three sets of drafts on Lokpal Bill, one by the government and two by civil society groups.