The UPA floor managers are mulling the option of discussing and passing the lokpal bill by Thursday in the Lok Sabha, after its plan to extend the winter session post-Christmas didn’t find support from a large section of the MPs.
A special meeting of the Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) has been called at 10.15 am on Wednesday to bring the opposition parties on board with this plan. The union cabinet approved the lokpal bill on Tuesday evening.
If the opposition agrees, the Rajya Sabha session may be extended by a day to discuss the lokpal bill after it sails through the Lok Sabha. The winter session is scheduled to end on December 22.
Earlier in the day, the government and the opposition had agreed to extend the winter session post-Christmas from 27 to 29 December. In the BAC meeting held on Tuesday, the extra three days were allotted to pass three key anti-graft legislations: lokpal bill, whistleblowers bill and judicial accountability bill.
But within hours, many MPs expressed their disappointment over the plan as it overlaps with the long festive period. “Especially, MPs from North-East told us that they wanted to spend this festive time in their constituencies,” MoS for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla told HT.
The BAC had earlier decided to allot eight hours to discuss and pass the lokpal bill in Lok Sabha. If the parties take up the lokpal bill during the remaining period of the session, the UPA may not be able to pass the judicial accountability bill and the whistleblowers bill this winter session.
In the BAC meeting, BJP’s Sushma Swaraj agreed to bring the lokpal bill on December 22 and 23 but her party colleague, Ananth Kumar, advocated for a post-Christmas extension. RJD’s Lalu Prasad also sought more time for a discussion.
Hours after the BAC meeting concluded, BSP’s Rajya Sabha leader Satish Chandra Mishra asked his counterpart in the Lok Sabha, Dara Singh Chouhan, why he agreed to the proposal of extension. Chouhan rushed back to parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to say the BSP is opposed to post-Christmas.