Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad took to himself the job of opposing the Lokpal Bill, educating the members about its dangers and asking the government not to push the MPs to the wall. For this, he received applaud from across the board with some Congress MPs saying he reflected the sense of the house.
In a speech laced with humour in Lok Sabha at the time of introduction of the draft Lokpal Bill, Lalu accused the government of bringing the Bill under pressure of an agitation by one person (Anna Hazare) and said three-four persons were trying to dictate terms to Parliament.
“Don’t put the noose around your neck,” he said to a packed house, adding “Parliament cannot be run from the footpath. We are the lawmakers.”
He also questioned many MPs as to how many friends of (Suresh) Kalmadi the house wanted to create. “If an ex-MP comes, he doesn’t get place even in the bathroom,” he said, evoking laughter. He said the Lokpal would open a Pandora’s Box for the lawmakers themselves, and opposed the clause of allowing the Lokpal to investigate complaints up to seven years old.
Repeatedly saying he was not against the Bill as was being projected, Prasad questioned the government’s hurriedness in bringing it. His views got support from CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, who wanted the government to not introduce the bill under duress.
Negating such claims, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee said the country had been waiting for a Lokpal for 40 years.
The veteran Congress leader with folded hands said the government had tried to work as per the August 27 resolution of the Parliament which spoke about “appropriate mechanism” to have a citizen’s charter and include lower bureaucracy under the Lokpal.
Earlier, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had asked the MPs to consider the Bill’s far-reaching implications before committing to pass it. “Lokpal can turn into another agency of blackmail,” he said.