Ahead of their team’s indefinite fast beginning next week, social activist Anna Hazare and his close associates on Monday questioned the need for referring the lokpal bill to a Rajya Sabha panel even as the government said differences among the political class on the bill were narrowing.
In a letter to Satyavrat Chaturvedi, chairman of the Rajya Sabha Select Committee, which is currently examining the bill, Team Anna pointed out that this was the third panel formed to look into the bill during the past year and 11th in 44 years.
“When the question of passing a strong bill that will ensure that corrupt ministers are punished, 44 years are not enough. The bill has been sent to committees 11 times. Are all parties and Parliament willing to pass a strong lokpal bill or is it that the committees are to delay it?” stated a letter signed by Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Shanti and Prashant Bhushan.
The government, however, said it has “narrowed down” major differences on the bill and it was committed to get the legislation passed. “We don’t have numbers in the Rajya Sabha. That’s why we have to carry all the parties,” minister of state for personnel, V Narayanasamy said.