It’s no coincidence that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar followed by the BJP have responded similarly to a letter sent by Lokpal drafting committee chairman Pranab Mukherjee seeking their opinion on the anti-graft law.
BJP’s Arun Jaitley discussed the issue with Kumar a few days ago, say BJP sources, and agreed that opposition parties should toss the ball into the government’s court to spell what’s on its mind.
Jaitley and senior BJP leaders also spoke to other parties. As a follow-up to their discussion, the BJP expected other opposition parties to take a similar stand.
Last week, Union ministers P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal had sought to clear the doubts about the government's intentions on the bill, saying the draft would be ready by June 30.
Mukherjee wrote to parties seeking their opinion on six issues — on which government representatives had differences with the civil society activists.
Both the Bihar CM and BJP president found Mukherjee's letter had no enclosures regarding the draft of Lokpal Bill or draft Bill prepared by civil society members.
Kumar, in his reply to Mukherjee, noted, “Your letter contains a questionnaire and seeks my response in the said format on issues enumerated in para 2 (I) to (vi) therein. It is rather surprising that on such vital issues which are engaging the attention of the entire nation, response of the chief ministers and other stakeholders is being sought in such a casual and hurried manner.”
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said, “Expecting political parties to give their views to a drafting committee comprising civil society representatives for acceptance or otherwise would be upsetting constitutional propriety where parties, parliamentarians and Parliament have the last word.”