The Congress on Friday staged a come-back after the Thursday night fiasco in the Rajya Sabha, as the House was adjourned without the amendments to the lokpal bill being put to vote.
Union home minister P Chidambaram and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad are seen during a press conference in New Delhi. PTI/Vijay Verma
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi declared at a rally at an election rally in Saharanpur that his party would "not rest until a strong lokpal bill is passed", while home minister P Chidambaram promised that the bill would be passed in the budget session next year.
Although the Lok Sabha passed the bill on Tuesday, voting in the Rajya Sabha could not take place on Thursday night as proceedings were delayed due to disruptions by an RJD member who snatched and tore papers from minister for personnel V Narayanasamy and 187 amendments moved by the Opposition.
Meanwhile, through the day, the Opposition and the government kept trading the charge of "choreographing" the disruption of the House - obliquely agreeing that the bill was indeed sabotaged.
The BJP said the government had orchestrated the disruptions as the UPA was in a minority while Chidambaram charged that moving 187 amendments was part of a scheme to ensure the process becomes unwieldy.
Not to be left behind, Trinamool Congress - a partner in the ruling combine with representation in the cabinet that cleared the bill - accused the government of derailing the lokpal process.
"It was murder at midnight," said Trinamool's Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien.
Seeking to turn the political heat on BJP on Friday, Gandhi accused it of the delay in the bill's passing in the Upper House and the defeat in the Lok Sabha of a related bill, seeking constitutional status for the lokpal.
"They defeated it in the Lok Sabha and said they did so as it was Rahul's dream. This is not Rahul's dream, but the dream of country's youth and we will rest only after brining it," he said.
Taking part in the debate, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, "It is now crystal clear that the government does not want a strong lokpal. It merely wants a spurious and phoney mechanism that can be manipulated."
The Congress has decided to take the opposition's non-cooperation to the voters ahead of the state assembly polls.
"Their sole motive was to bring the Prime Minister inside but keep the chief ministers outside," said minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla.
The BJP believes that the government has shot itself in the foot and handed over the political advantage, which will enable the saffron party to garner more support among voters.
Starting January 3, the party will hold week-long protests across the country.
LK Advani will lead a delegation of BJP MPs to the President on that day.
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