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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Rajya Sabha likely to debate lokpal bill today

Agencies  New Delhi, December 17, 2013
First Published: 10:19 IST(17/12/2013) | Last Updated: 10:22 IST(17/12/2013)

As Anna Hazare's fast entered the eighth day, the government appeared determined to push through the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

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Citing Hazare's backing to the bill, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has taken a dig at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal, a one-time protege of Hazare, saying those doing politics on the issue were finding fault with the measure.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also decided to up the ante on the lokpal bill with Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Monday giving a notice for suspension of Question Hour on Tuesday to hold a discussion and pass the crucial legislation.

Jaitley gave the notice after the all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari to reach a consensus on the lokpal bill.

The Opposition appears to have prevailed over the Manmohan Singh regime on the amendment which takes away the government's right of transferring a CBI officer investigating a case referred to the agency by the Lokpal. This would give some independence to CBI in its functioning.

However, some sticking points still remain.

Government is not agreeable to the BJP demand that an officer being probed for corruption and possessing disproportionate assets should be given a hearing by the Lokpal before the investigation is initiated. BJP maintains that this would take away the surprise element required in a search and seizure operation.

Meanwhile, some representatives of NGOs on Monday met Union ministers and Opposition leaders to demand that the government also pass the Citizens' Charter along with the lokpal bill.

This was one of the key demands of Anna Hazare when the jan lokpal agitation began in 2011 in the capital.

Hazare is on an indefinite fast for the past eight days to demand passage of the Lokpal Bill.

The biggest hurdle seems to be the Samajwadi Party which has openly declared its opposition to the Lokpal Bill. It has said it will not allow the House to debate the Bill.

BJP leaders alleged that this could be a "match-fixing" by the government as SP is an outside ally of the UPA. In the past, Congress has tamed the SP whenever required by raking up the disproportionate assets cases against its senior leaders.

Though BJP reiterated its stand in today's all-party meeting that it is ready to discuss and pass the Bill in the din, it remains to be seen how the Chair would proceed as both Houses have seen protests on a host of issues in this session.

Confident about lokpal bill passage: Hazare

Meanwhile anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has said he is confident that the lokpal bill will be passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha shortly.

Speaking to PTI at Ralegan Siddhi on Monday, he said that he is confident about getting the Jan Lokpal Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and immediately later in the Lok Sabha.

Anna Hazare's weight has reduced by 4.6 kg o Monday after seven days of hunger strike and he is not in good health, as keytone bodies in his urine have crossed the safety level.


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